|2018 World Championship|
|Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 21 April – 7 May|
|Coverage: Watch live across BBC One, BBC iPlayer, BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.|
Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan made a brilliant comeback to beat Stephen Maguire 10-7 and reach the second round of the World Championship.
O’Sullivan is aiming for a record sixth ranking title of the season and 34th overall as he looks to close in on Stephen Hendry’s all-time haul of 36.
He saw defending champion Mark Selby go out on the first day and was heading the same way when 4-0 and 6-3 behind.
But he won seven of the next eight frames in the second session.
‘The Rocket’ set up a repeat of his victorious 2008 and 2012 finals when he comes up against Ali Carter, who made an excellent comeback from 6-3 down to beat former champion Graeme Dott 10-8.
“Losing any game is difficult to take but it was not a massive shock, I was rubbish all the way through the game,” said Dott. “I was awful yesterday even when I was 6-3 up.
“Ronnie is not going to lose any sleep if he played me or Ali. There are a few players who can beat him but none of them are in his half of the draw.”
Carter added: “It is great to be involved in a match with Ronnie and very much looking forward to it.
“He always plays well against me. He said his best snooker was against me but he knows how good I am. He has a lot of respect for me as a person and he likes my style of play. So I am a good match for him.”
O’Sullivan keeps his composure
Favourite O’Sullivan, 42, has been by far the best player this season, winning the English Open, Shanghai Masters, UK Championship, World Grand Prix and Players Championship.
This was the stand-out tie of the opening round and it lived up to the billing as Maguire surged ahead, but O’Sullivan maintained his composure with a three-frame burst in 17 minutes which included back-to-back centuries.
The 11th frame proved to be the turning point as Maguire missed a simple red when 49-0 ahead with an opportunity to go 7-4 up but O’Sullivan countered with an 86 clearance and stole the next too on the pink for 6-6.
The pair traded frames and once O’Sullivan went ahead in the match for the first time at 8-7, there was a sense of inevitability as he punished further misses from the Scot to close out the contest.
Masters runner-up Kyren Wilson eased past two-time world finalist Matthew Stevens 10-3, and Crucible debutant Lyu Haotian, 20, showed his potential with an impressive 10-5 victory over Marco Fu.
China’s Lyu comes up against Barry Hawkins or Stuart Carrington next.
“Lyu was superb and potted a lot of long balls,” Fu said. “He rose to the occasion and played even better here than in the qualifiers.
“It is a good sign, top players rise to the big occasions and I lost to the better player.”
Masters champion Mark Allen opened up a 6-3 advantage over debutant Liam Highfield. Northern Irishman Allen was in good scoring form, making six breaks over 50 and the two resume on Monday at 10:00 BST.
Shaun Murphy edged 5-4 in front against Jamie Jones. The 2005 champion Murphy had made a superb 137 clearance in the third frame, but Welshman Jones compiled 114 in the ninth to stay in touch.
They resume on Monday at 14:30 BST, with the winner to face Wilson.
Match schedule – Monday, 23 April
Mark Allen (NI) v Liam Highfield (Eng)*
Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Stuart Carrington (Eng)
Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Jamie Jones (Wal)*
Ding Junhui (Chn) v Xiao Guodong (Chn)
Luca Brecel (Bel) v Ricky Walden (Eng)
Barry Hawkins (Eng) v Stuart Carrington (Eng)*
*denotes concluding session of match