With a performance as slick as his new hairstyle, Ronnie O’Sullivan took just 39 minutes to beat Tian Pengfei 4-0 and reach the last 32 of the BetVictor Welsh Open.
O’Sullivan was in ruthless mood as he fired breaks of 110, 90, 112 and 102, his Chinese opponent scoring just 37 points in four frames. O’Sullivan, sporting a swept-back style kept in place by a hair clip, did not threaten a maximum break but was still in imperious form as he set up a third round match with Jimmy Robertson.
“I was really happy with that.,” said three-time Welsh Open winner O’Sullivan, who had lost his previous two matches against Tian. “I was just trying to play the balls the way I like and it’s always nice to take them.”
Asked about his decision to turn down the chance of a 147 yesterday, O’Sullivan responded: “I don’t see what’s wrong in just bringing a form of entertainment and making it a little bit light hearted because it can be a serious game. Once I step over that line when I’m ready to play, I go into a mindset that I have to be myself. Sometimes I get it right, sometimes I get it wrong, but over the course my career I’d like to think I get it right more times than wrong. I’ve already had 13 maximums, five world titles, six Masters, five UK Championships and hold the record for the most centuries. I think I’ve done some good things.
“If I was to go out there and think about charities, mums, dads, my children, what my cleaners are doing, whether I’ve paid my bills, what Barry Hearn wants me to do, what the public wants me to do…I wouldn’t be able to perform. I’d be too worried. When you cross that line you have to back yourself, you need to grow shoulders deal with whatever is put in front of you.
“Stephen Fry apparently upset someone and he’s one of the most intelligent men on the planet, and he has divided opinion. When you do things differently and unexpectedly it is going to divide opinion. I can’t help what I did yesterday because it comes instinctively.”
Defending champion John Higgins also impressed as he saw off Sam Baird 4-0 with a top break of 115.
“It was a massive first frame, I needed a snooker and I managed to get it and that just changed the match,” said Higgins. “I made a few big breaks after that but the start was so important because if I had lost that frame I would have been struggling.”
Shaun Murphy made a 135 in building a 3-1 lead over Mitchell Mann and eventually won 4-3 thanks to a 62 in the decider. “I played lovely snooker in that match, every part of my game was good but I still very nearly lost,” said Murphy. “On another day I might be going home now. Ultimately I did get my chance in the last frame and was able to stand up and take it.”
Judd Trump top scored with 85 in a 4-1 win over Rory McLeod. “It was a tricky game,” said Trump. “I didn’t play well but he’s a tough player, he really tries his hardest on every shot and some of the frames were quite scrappy. I know how well I’m playing and it’s only a matter of time for me before I win another title. I’m just happy with how I’m hitting the ball.”
Carmarthen’s Matthew Stevens produced a blitz of high scoring as he came from 2-0 down to beat Martin O’Donnell 4-2, racking up runs of 68, 97, 131 and 98.
Fellow Welshman Michael White is also into the third round as he edged out Tom Ford 4-3. White made a stunning 56 clearance in the decider which was initiated by a tremendous long red.
White said: “The way I potted the last red and cleared up was one of the best breaks I’ve had as a pro. I’m so chuffed to get through. It’s always nice to have a century break on the TV table, it was big crowd as well. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and it’s a great venue.”
German Masters and Shoot Out runner-up Luca Brecel edged out Mark King 4-3 while veteran Ken Doherty scored a 4-3 win over David Gilbert.