Ronnie O’Sullivan might no longer be dotting the headlines of major news outlets like he used to. However, the 36 ranking titles winner is aging, like fine wine.
The Rocket edged past Zhang Jiankang comfortably to pick up a one-way ticket to the second round of the Welsh Open.
The four-time champion mauled his opponent, posting a 4-1 scorecard in the process. Ronnie posted breaks of 46 and 51 in the first frame before recording a 53 in the second.
Zhang, who had a slow start to the game, snatched the third frame to make the scoreline more serene at 2-1. O’Sullivan then responded in stunning fashion, posting a swift break of 69 in the fourth frame before rounding it up with 81 in the fifth frame.
Zhang Jianking was rather defenseless at the table, humbly submitting to the whims and caprices of Ronnie. With that win, Ronnie is now poised to take on Stuart Carrington in a potentially tough encounter.
Elsewhere, Zhao Xintong took on Graeme Dott for size, taking the Scot to the cleaners with a 4-0 whitewash. Fans of the world number 19 and former World Champion must have been gutted to see their favorite swept out of the tournament like he was a newbie. It was Dott’s opponent who was an upcoming star instead. Yet, he dominated the encounter from start to finish, leaving the scoreline at 4-0.
Mark Allen was also in action against Andrew Higginson. The World number 7 was outstanding in the clash, thumping world number 59, Higginson by a 4-1 scoreline to set up a meeting with James Wattana in the last-64. Higginson started on the front foot, winning the first frame in style.
However, the more clinical, Allen was more determined to reach the finish line, and so did he. The Northern Irish man recorded four frame wins on the trot to finish on top and move into the next round.
Scott Donaldson was also involved in a rather one-sided affair with Sunny Akani.
Though Akani remains 30 places adrift of Donaldson on the world rankings, pre-match talks had suggested that it was a potentially tight game. It was, however, the contrary. Donaldson tore away to the finish line, ending Akani Welsh Open dreams with a 4-1 win.
Stuart Carrington is backed at 5.47 to defeat Ronnie, while Ronnie O’Sullivan is fancied at 1.14 to win the encounter.
Written by: Roland Arum