He may not be averse to the odd controversial soundbite and many people, including your correspondent, may wish that he simply let his snooker do the talking, but there’s no doubt that Ronnie O’Sullivan is in typical imperious form approaching the latter stages of the UK Championship. The “Rocket” has lost just three frames en route to the quarter finals and with Mark Williams or Liam Highfield his next opponent, now looks like the time to lump on the five times former winner at 2.1 with Stan James. Victory in Friday’s quarter final will see O’Sullivan come up against Jamie Jones, David Gilbert or Marco Fu, while the other half of the draw still features former world champions John Higgins – who plays Mark Allen, ranked 10 in the world – Mark Selby and Sean Murphy. The Essex man has, by far, the easier route to the final and may well arrive there fresher than whichever opponent he faces.
Selection: Ronnie O’Sullivan (2.1 with Stan James)