Ronnie O’Sullivan has reached the UK Championship second round and Stuart Bingham also went through – and became the second player to make a maximum 147 break in this year’s tournament.
World champion O’Sullivan progressed with a 6-0 whitewash of Leo Fernandez.
Bingham emulated Kyren Wilson’s 147 feat from the previous day in his 6-2 victory over Zak Surety.
Australia’s Neil Robertson, a two-time champion, also progressed after thrashing Frenchman Brian Ochoiski 6-0.
‘Maradona was amazing’
O’Sullivan came into the event after being beaten by world number one Judd Trump in Sunday’s Northern Ireland Open final and made light work of Irish amateur Fernandez with breaks of 121, 60, 59 and 73.
With more ranking title wins (37), Triple Crown event victories (20) and centuries (1,070) than any player in history, O’Sullivan can lay claim to being the greatest snooker player of all time, and after his match paid tribute to football legend Diego Maradona, who died aged 60 on Wednesday.
O’Sullivan, who is chasing an eighth UK title said: “I have always said I would rather have a short life with tremendous highs than a long life in which you are beige. Maradona had the world in his hands, like Mike Tyson, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Muhammad Ali.
“There are seven billion people on the planet – there have been so many billions of people – and yet you can name 10 that have taken the world by storm in sporting terms and Maradona was one of them.
“We should celebrate what was a great life. What a great sportsman and what he did on the football pitch was incredible.
“Some people would have loved to see Maradona play, others might have rather seen a different style of play – but Maradona captured the brilliance a bit like Lionel Messi. He was amazing.”
‘One ticked off the bucket list’
The maximum was the seventh of Bingham’s career, with only O’Sullivan (15), Stephen Hendry and John Higgins (both 11) compiling more.
Bingham, 44, is looking to win the event to seal the Triple Crown, having won the World Championship at the Crucible in 2015 and is the current Masters champion.
He was in high-scoring form against world number 119 Surety, making further breaks of 76 and 52, sealing the match with another superb break of 140.
Bingham told Sport: “It is extra special to make it at the UK, it is one ticked off the bucket list. It feels more of a practice session without the crowd.
“When it got down to the last black there is still a few nerves and a bit of tension with a bit of adrenaline going through. But I played the break perfectly and could not miss.”
The 147 means Bingham will share the £15,000 high break prize with Wilson, who made his perfect run against Ashley Hugill on Tuesday.
Bingham added: “I am sure Kyren will message saying ‘thanks for that’. The money is a bonus but I’ve made my seventh maximum and I want to make 10 before I finish.”
This was the sixth 147 of the season and the 163rd overall to be compiled in snooker history.
Meanwhile, veteran Jimmy White, 58, won in his 100th match at the UK Championship, beating Scot Alan McManus 6-4.
The pair were playing against each other in the event 30 years after their first meeting.