O’Sullivan starts well at World Championships

PUBLISHED: 18:15 17 April 2016 | UPDATED: 18:15 17 April 2016

Ronnie O'Sullivan in actoin at the Betfred Snooker World Championships at the Crucble Theatre, Sheffield (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

Ronnie O'Sullivan in actoin at the Betfred Snooker World Championships at the Crucble Theatre, Sheffield (pic: Richard Sellers/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Five-time champion builds three-frame lead

Five-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan displayed a typically assured break-building masterclass to open up a three-frame lead on David Gilbert midway through their first-round match at the World Championships in Sheffield.

Gilbert was priced as a 10/1 rank outsider to see off the world number six, but showed reputations do not faze him when he won the opening frame.

But when your opponent is at the table there is simply nothing that can be done and breaks of 72, 84 and 71 saw O’Sullivan build a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.

At that stage his pot success rate stood at 96 per cent, with the Rocket displaying the kind of early authority that has seen him reach the quarter-final stage or better in 11 of the last 12 years.

Gilbert was not prepared to go quietly, though, and emerged from the dressing room to make a nerveless 91 and win frame five.

However, he was then shown the cost of failing to take your chances against the five-time champion as, after building a 56-point lead, he saw O’Sullivan, quick as a flash, cut the deficit to 13 with a solitary red remaining.

And, after forcing a mistake with a snooker, O’Sullivan cleared the table to reassert his two-frame advantage.

O’Sullivan got a taste of his own medicine in the seventh, forced to sit in his chair as Gilbert expertly amassed a 125 clearance.

And frame eight tested every facet of both players’ game, with their respective responses superb.

After Gilbert’s break of 48, O’Sullivan came back to within one point and the pair then escaped with aplomb from several of each other’s snookers.

But it was Gilbert who blinked first and O’Sullivan took the frame, before a break of 71 put the 40-year-old in command ahead of tomorrow morning’s conclusion.

*Watch the World Championship LIVE on Eurosport, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

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