RONNIE O’Sullivan only needed five frames this evening to secure his place in the second round of the World Championship after beating Robin Hull 10-4.
Leading 7-2 from this morning’s opening session, O’Sullivan comfortably got over the winning line to set up a last 16 meeting with either Joe Perry or Jamie Burnett.
But despite the win, O’Sullivan was not at his absolute best and the scoreline does not tell the whole story as Hull missed several golden chances which if he had taken could have produced a much tighter affair.
It is still early days of course but his performance will not have scared other contenders looking to steal his crown.
Trying to get back into the game Hull looked to have the first frame of the session at his mercy but missed a costly penultimate red which allowed O’Sullivan back in to increase his lead to 8-2.
The Finland potter made amends in the next two frames with breaks of 52 and 68 to close the gap to 8-4 but O’Sullivan wrapped up victory getting the two frames he needed in quick succession.
Interestingly, O’Sullivan’s last two World Championship triumphs began with 10-4 first round wins against Peter Ebdon (2012) and Marcus Campbell last year. Time will only tell if that is an early omen for the defending champion.
On the other table Ali Carter thwarted off a strong fightback from Crucible debutant Xiao Guodong to take a slender lead into Sunday afternoon’s final session.
Carter, a two-times finalist, made a strong start when he won four of the first five frame to earn a 4-1 lead.
But Xiao, who beat Li Yan 10-1 to qualify, settled into his stride as breaks of 59 and 73 saw him go just one behind.
And the scores levelled up when Carter potted the white when trying to play the final black ball safe. But last season’s German Masters winner dug deep to take the final frame of the session and go back ahead.