DEFENDING champion Ronnie O’Sullivan booked his place in the second round of the World Championship after a comfortable victory over Marcus Campbell.
In his first competitive match in seven months, O’Sullivan secured a possible last 16 clash against Ali Carter – the man he beat in last year’s final – with a 10-4 win.
Earlier this week, O’Sullivan suggested his return could be a car crash but, if anything, this was a cruising win for the comeback star. And the worrying thing for his rivals is the fact he can get much better.
After taking a 7-2 lead from this morning’s opening session, O’Sullivan began the evening in superb style by hitting his first century break of the tournament before a break of 90 put him on the verge of victory at 9-2.
Campbell though, to his credit, refused to be rolled over at that point and earned some respectability to the fscore by grinding out the next two frames.
But after the mid-session interval O’Sullivan got the job done to seal a comfortable win.
Earlier in the day rising star Jack Lisowski found Crucible life difficult as he trailed 6-3 to Barry Hawkins at the close of their first session.
Lisowski, tipped to be one of the sport’s next stars, made a great start as a break of 82 gave him the opening frame. But Hawkins showed the Sheffield crowd why he has been such a solid performer all season by winning the next three frames.
Lisowski fought back after the restart with a break of 100 but that was short lived when Hawkins took the next three frames with runs of 97, 100 and 66 to take a commanding 6-2 lead.
But the 21-year-old made sure he gave himself a fighting chance for Sunday night’s final session by winning a low-scoring ninth frame to leave him just three frames behind.
Former world champion Shaun Murphy battled back from a poor start to take a slender advantage in his first round match against Martin Gould.
Murphy, who won the famous trophy in 2005, was 2-0 down against this season’s Snooker Shoot Out winner before he won the next three frames with a top break of 112.
Gould then levelled terms before Murphy took the next two frames to guarantee himself an overnight lead. But Gould tightened the screw winning the final frame to trail by just one frame overnight.
And Crucible debutant Michael White proved to be a stern test for former world champion Mark Williams after the young star earned himself a slender 5-4 lead.
White, who beat Zhang Anda and Andrew Higginson to qualify for snooker’s biggest event, made a uperb start after winning four of the first five frames.
But Williams, who won the title in 2000 and 2003, fought back winning three on the bounce to level at 4-4. But White took an overnight advantage after winning the ninth frame.
World Championship 2013 – Day 1 Key Points
O’Sullivan begins comeback with comfortable win, could face Ali Carter in next round (repeat of last year’s final).
Walden enjoys huge 8-1 lead over Holt, disastrous session for the Nottingham star.
Hawkins impresses in 6-3 lead over debut boy Lisowski.
Murphy and White take slender overnight leads.