Ronnie O'Sullivan beaten by Ding Junhui at UK Championship
Last Updated: 06/12/19 12:53pm
Ronnie O'Sullivan's hopes of winning a third successive UK Championship title ended with a 6-4 defeat by Ding Junhui in the last 16 in York.
World No 43 Matthew Stevens will be joining Ding in the last 16 after beating the three-time Championship winner Mark Selby.
On his 44th birthday, O'Sullivan recovered from 4-1 down to level at 4-4 but it was China's Ding who won the final two frames to set up a quarter-final clash with countryman Liang Wenbo.
O'Sullivan, who has won a record seven titles at the event, did not pot a ball in the first three frames as Ding flew out of the blocks.
Back-to-back centuries got the world No 2 back into the contest, and he insisted he was not unhappy with the result.
"I am quite happy with four frames," O'Sullivan said on the BBC. "I was 4-1 down and he hadn't missed a ball and I was thinking this could a 6-0 or 6-1 mauling on my birthday.
"I got it back to 4-4 and twitched a red and he played well and held himself together at the end."
Ding has not won a ranking event in more than two years and is down at 16 in the rankings, and he celebrated a "really big win".
"I know I played good in the last round so I was confident," he said.
"Ronnie played fantastic but it's a really big win for me. I am very happy. I knew his comeback was on the way. He doesn't miss many when he is making breaks."
Welshman Stevens is also in the last 16 after he beat Mark Selby, a three-time UK Championship winner.
Stevens won 6-5 in the early hours of Friday morning and next faces Stephen Maguire, who beat Michael White 6-4.
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