Ronnie O’Sullivan advanced to the fourth round of the Scottish Open with a battling 4-3 win over Tian Pengfei.
The Rocket was scratchy throughout the contest at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes - which is playing host to the event due to Covid-19 restrictions - as he made mistakes in the first two frames that his opponent did not take advantage of.
O’Sullivan’s facial mannerisms gave an indication of how he felt he was playing, but he steeled himself to get over the line and set up a meeting with Robbie Williams - a 4-3 winner against Lu Ning - later on Thursday.
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The two-time Scottish Open champion - in 1998 and 2000 - was scrappy from the off, but Tian failed to take the chances he was handed and the 33-year-old paid the price in the first frame when he missed a plant into the corner pocket and brought the black into play. The world champion accepted the opening handed to him to wrap up the frame.
The second frame was a carbon copy of the opener, with errors coming from the cue of O’Sullivan and Tian failing to take advantage.
The Chinese player missed a blue into the middle that was frame ball, which preceded a lengthy safety exchange. O’Sullivan had the better of it, only for Tian to fluke a yellow to seemingly take command. However, he missed the green and the Rocket took green, brown, blue and a pressure pink to take the frame.
Tian could have wilted after throwing away the second frame, but he dug in and got on the scoreboard when taking the third frame on the back of a break of 40. Tian levelled the match in the fourth, but he needed three bites before getting over the line.
O’Sullivan replaced his tip after his win over Allan Taylor in the first round, and said after beating Chang Bingyu that it was like playing a different game with the new addition to his cue. It did not look so positive against Tian, as he miscued when trying to wrestle control of the fourth frame, and he was soon inspecting and picking at the tip.
O’Sullivan continued to make errors in the fifth and Tian was able to edge into the lead for the first time in the match - and go to within one frame of success.

‘What about that for a shot!’ – O’Sullivan shows his class against Tian

Tian had a chance in the sixth, but went back to his chair after missing a black off the spot and O'Sullivan stepped in to produce his most fluent snooker of the match. A break of 93 enabled him to force a decider - although there was a sigh from the 45-year-old as he passed up the chance of a century when missing a yellow.
A lengthy safety exchange raised the tension in the final frame. O’Sullivan broke the deadlock with a superb long red and he went through the gears and sealed the win with a 78.
  • Sunny Akani 3-4 Lyu Haotian
  • Ricky Walden 4-0 Zak Surety
  • Zhou Yuelong 3-4 Mark Allen
  • Kyren Wilson 4-2 Michael Holt
  • Liam Highfield 3-4 Barry Hawkins
  • Sam Craigie 3-4 Jamie Jones
  • Zhao Jianbo 1-4 Eden Sharav
  • Robert Milkins 3-4 Stuart Bingham
  • Mark Selby 4-2 Mark Joyce
  • Judd Trump 4-2 Liang Wenbo
  • Mark Williams 4-1 Jackson Page
  • Li Hang 4-1 Noppon Saengkham
  • Ding Junhui 4-0 Martin O'Donnell
  • Robbie Williams 4-3 Lu Ning
  • Tian Pengfei 3-4 Ronnie O'Sullivan


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