RONNIE O’Sullivan came from 4-1 down to beat Ken Doherty 6-5 and keep alive his hopes of a seventh Betway UK Championship title.

Following the early exits of Mark Selby, Shaun Murphy and John Higgins at the Barbican, another shock looked on the cards when defending champion O’Sullivan started slowly against 49-year-old veteran Doherty.

But the Rocket turned the match around and came out on top in an exciting conclusion to set up a last-32 meeting with China’s Zhou Yuelong.

O’Sullivan currently shares Steve Davis’s record of six UK titles as well as Stephen Hendry’s mark of 18 Triple Crown victories, so he will make a new piece of snooker history if he lifts the trophy.

World number three O’Sullivan has already landed the Shanghai Masters and Champion of Champions titles within the past three months and has now won 21 of his 23 matches this season.

But it was 1997 world champion Doherty who dominated the early stages this afternoon as breaks of 66, 76, 77 and 71 put him 4-1 ahead.

He also had chances in frame six but couldn’t take them and O’Sullivan launched his come back with a run of 75. Further breaks of 76 and 65 helped put five-time world champion O’Sullivan 5-4 up.

He could have closed out the match in frame ten but missed the brown to a centre pocket and his opponent punished him with a run of 48 to make it 5-5.

O’Sullivan had first chance in the decider and made 31 before running out of position. Doherty had one opportunity but could only make six before missing a tough long pot to a baulk corner. O’Sullivan got back in with an excellent mid-range red to a top corner and added 58 to seal the result.

Also during this afternoon's session, Luca Brecel made three consecutive centuries – 135, 109 and 101 – during a 6-5 win over Liam Highfield.

David Gilbert’s break-building was even more impressive in a 6-4 win over Peter Ebdon. Yushan World Open finalist Gilbert made a 131 in the opening frame and also had three tons in a row from 2-1 down, knocking in 134, 133 and 100.

China’s Yan Bingtao thrashed Pickering's Paul Davison 6-1, while Martin O’Donnell made a 139 in a 6-2 win over Chen Feilong. More big breaks came from Gary Wilson as he beat Sam Baird 6-3 with 85, 113, 63, 103 and 93.