RONNIE O’SULLIVAN has been denied a third straight UK Championship title after suffering an 6-4 defeat to Ding Junhui at the Barbican.

O’Sullivan had won the Triple Crown event in both of the past two years in York and was aiming Stephen Hendry as the last player to win three consecutive UK titles, back in 1996.

It was a high-quality affair with eight of the 10 frames having breaks of over 50.

However, it was Ding who progressed at O’Sullivan’s expense to set up a quarter-final against Chinese compatriot Liang Wenbo.

O’Sullivan failed to score in a single point in the opening three frames as Ding raced into a 3-0 lead - scoring a 110 break in the latter.

The five-time world champion fought back to win two of the next three frames with 78 and 77 breaks.

Then, O’Sullivan reeled off back-to-back centuries to level the scores at 4-4, scoring 107 and then a match-high 124.

But, Ding remained composed and capitalised on O’Sullivan errors to secure the win.