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O’Sullivan dropped his first frame of the tournament when UK Cypriot Michael Georgiou whose parents are from Gerani in Cyprus.made a 52 break in the opener before the five-times world champion reeled off six frames in a row to earn a 6-1 win.

World number 99 Georgiou was left to marvel at O’Sullivan’s talent and insisted: “He’s not human – the way he’s playing at the moment I can’t see anyone beating him.”

But the 40-year-old O’Sullivan insists he feels far from invincible, despite his stunning run of form in the tournament and the shock exits of potential title rivals Neil Robertson and Judd Trump.

Maintaining his insistence that he is now a “part-time” player due to his increasing commentary duties and commitment to exhibitions, he nevertheless said he would take Georgiou’s praise as a compliment.

O’Sullivan said: “It’s nice to get that recognition because I’ve been in the sport for so long and won all the titles, but for a fellow pro to say that means they appreciate the way you play and that’s the biggest compliment I could take away from snooker.

“I’m not even half-way through the event and there’s such a long way to go, but hopefully I can stay in as long as I can and enjoy it as long as I can.”

O’Sullivan, who scored back-to-back whitewashes over Boonyarit Keattikun and Rhys Clark in the first two rounds, admitted: “I think I could do with a little bit of a close match that could go either way – maybe 6-3 or 6-4 would be beneficial.”

World champion Mark Selby joined O’Sullivan in the last 16 with 6-1 victory over Robert Milkins, while 46-year-old Peter Lines – whose son Oliver also plays in the last 32 on Tuesday – was beaten 6-2 by Liam Highfield.

John Higgins stayed on course for a third title in quick succession as he booked his place in the last 16 with a comprehensive 6-2 win over Ben Woollaston.

Higgins, who clinched back-to-back titles in China and Coventry earlier this month, polished off victory with a break of 89 to maintain his impressive recent form.

David Gilbert edged a final frame thriller to beat former semi-finalist Ali Carter 6-5, and Belgium’s Luca Brecel wasted no time sweeping aside Yu De Lu 6-1.

Zhou Yuelong collected a 6-5 victory over Yan Bingtao and Marco Fu beat Mei Xi Wen 6-4 in the final match to finish on Monday.

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