World number 105 O’Neill had a golden chance to register his biggest career win in the sixth frame until he accidentally fouled on 33. O’Sullivan, ranked 103 places higher, punished him to progress to the last 64 at K2 Crawley. He’ll be back in action on Wednesday – tickets are still available – click here for details.
O’Neill, who had been working on roofs for the past five years before regaining his pro status at Q School last May, coped well with the dizzy heights of the televised table in the early stages tonight, winning the opening frame with a break of 114, then dominating the second.
Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan hit back with runs of 90 and 102 for 2-2 then O’Neill made a 59 as he regained the lead in the fifth. In the next he was 33-0 ahead when he accidentally grazed a red he was cueing over. O’Sullivan replied with 54 then got the better of a safety battle on the last red and capitalised for 3-3.
O’Neill had two further chances in the decider but could only muster 15 points and had to watch as his opponent rattled off 81 to seal victory.
World Champion Judd Trump eased to a 4-0 win over Peter Ebdon despite a top break of just 48.
“Hopefully I can get through the first couple of rounds and then I’ll feel like I’m really in the tournament,” said Trump, who landed his first Crucible crown in May. “There’s a lot of pressure off my shoulders now and it’s important for me to kick on. I’m young in snooker terms because a lot of players keep going until they are 45 or 50. It’s an exciting time in snooker now, there are a lot of big events. It’s important to go out and enjoy yourself.”
Defending champion Stuart Bingham had a tough battle against Kacper Filipiak, winning 4-3. Poland’s Filipiak made a break of 100 in frame four to level at 2-2 then Bingham replied with 103 to go 3-2 ahead. A tight sixth frame went Filipiak’s way but Bingham finished strongly with a run of 111.
It was still a good day for Polish snooker as Adam Stefanow scored an impressive 4-1 win over Luca Brecel.
Mark Selby compiled runs of 103 and 130 as he came from 2-1 down to beat Barry Pinches 4-2 while Alan McManus top scored with 76 as he beat Ali Carter 4-2.
China Championship winner Shaun Murphy boosted his hopes of winning back to back ranking titles as he saw off Chang Bingyu 4-2, pulling away from 2-2 with runs of 71 and 79 in the last two frames.
Sussex ace Jimmy Robertson made a 134 as he came from 2-0 down to beat Robert Milkins 4-2, while Ding Junhui’s hopes of regaining a top 16 place took a blow as he lost 4-3 to Dominic Dale.