O’Sullivan thwarts off Xiao persistence to secure first round win

RONNIE O’SULLIVAN booked his place in the second round of the International Championship after beating Xiao Guodong 6-4.

Ronnie O'Sullivan. Picture by Monique Limbos

Ronnie O’Sullivan. Picture by Monique Limbos

The Rocket, who is yet to win China’s biggest ranking event in the snooker calendar, made breaks of 137, 55, 78 and 71 in Daqing to secure victory.

Xiao threatened a comeback when he reduced his arrears from 3-1 to 5-4 but O’Sullivan ensured there would be no major shock turnaround.

The five-times world champion will next face Kurt Maflin for a place in the last 16 of the £125,000 top prize ranking event.

Elsewhere, John Higgins continued his defence of the title with a 6-3 win over Eden Sharav while English Open winner Liang Wenbo – for the second day running – was pushed to the limits as he defeated Chen Zifan in an eleven-frame thriller to progress into the second round.

China’s number one star Ding Junhui, who had to produce an epic comeback to defeat Mitchell Mann in the preliminary round, had a more straight-forward day of action beating David Grace 6-1.

Ding almost made a 147 during the routine victory but missed the final brown to deny him what would have been his seventh career maximum.

There was also a solid win for world number two Stuart Bingham who beat Zhang Jiankang 6-1 and the International Championship’s first ever winner Judd Trump began the competition with a 6-3 win over Yuan Sijun.

World number one Mark Selby beat Alfie Burden 6-2 and 2014 International Championship winner Ricky Walden beat Ken Doherty 6-3.

Welshman Daniel Wells, who beat Mark Allen in the preliminary round, continued his winning ways with an impressive 6-2 win over Stuart Carrington.

 

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