Ronnie O’Sullivan secured victory in his first appearance of the World Snooker Tour season, defeating Neil Robertson 6-3 at the Shanghai Masters.
Defending champion O’Sullivan enjoyed one of the most successful campaigns of his career in 2017/18, winning five ranking titles in a single season for the first time and securing a sixth UK Championship title.
He picked up silverware here in Shanghai last year thanks to a 10-3 demolition of Judd Trump in the final.
The Rocket showed no signs of rust in the early stages this evening and came storming out of the blocks. A break of 91 gave him the opener, before he controlled the second to go 2-0 ahead. There was then a dramatic third frame, which O’Sullivan eventually claimed on the black.
Robertson did take the last frame before the mid-session to trail just 3-1. However, O’Sullivan managed the game and they traded frames until he emerged the 6-3 victor.
“Neil can play better. I can play better. It wasn’t the worst match,” said O’Sullivan. “When you haven’t played a match for four months you lose the feeling of when to go for a shot and when not to. I’ve just been doing exhibitions and practising and if you miss you don’t get punished. This is the first good player I have played in four months. You need to adjust a bit.”
World Champion Mark Williams is showing no signs of letting his foot off the gas after another impressive display saw him overcome Scotland’s Anthony McGill 6-3.
The Welshman is looking to once again be in fine form this season, after claiming victory at the Yushan World Open last month. Although he did suffer a shock exit at the recent Six Red World Championship against the UAE’s Mohamad Shehab.
Williams is in a strong position to displace Mark Selby from the summit of the world rankings for the first time since February 2015. The Welshman is currently projected to overtake Selby by the New Year.
In today’s match Williams knocked in breaks of 52, 89, 61, 103 and 61. He will now face Barry Hawkins in the last eight.
Ryan Day overcame John Higgins in a final frame decider to secure a tense 6-5 victory.
Both players produced their best snooker in the latter stages of the clash as they attempted to jostle for the finish post. With Day leading 5-4, Higgins produced a sublime break of 136 to force a decider. However, it was Day who clinched victory with a gutsy contribution of 87.