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World Snooker Championship 2018: Ronnie O’Sullivan beats Stephen Maguire

Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan made a brilliant comeback to beat Stephen Maguire 10-7 and reach the second round of the World Championship.

O’Sullivan is aiming for a record sixth ranking title of the season and 34th overall as he looks to close in on Stephen Hendry’s all-time haul of 36.

He saw defending champion Mark Selby go out on the first day and was heading the same way when 4-0 and 6-3 behind.

But he won seven of the next eight frames in the second session.

‘The Rocket’ will face the winner of the tie between Ali Carter and former champion Graeme Dott next.

Closely matched

O’Sullivan keeps his composure

Favourite O’Sullivan, 42, has been by far the best player this season, winning the English Open, Shanghai Masters, UK Championship, World Grand Prix and Players Championship.

This was the stand-out tie of the opening round and it lived up to the billing as Maguire surged ahead, but O’Sullivan maintained his composure with a three-frame burst in 17 minutes which included back-to-back centuries.

The 11th frame proved to be the turning point as Maguire missed a simple red when 49-0 ahead with an opportunity to go 7-4 up but O’Sullivan countered with an 86 clearance and stole the next too on the pink for 6-6.

The pair traded frames and once O’Sullivan went ahead in the match for the first time at 8-7, there was a sense of inevitability as he punished further misses from the Scot to close out the contest.

Elsewhere…

Masters champion Mark Allen opened up a 6-3 advantage over debutant Liam Highfield. Northern Irishman Allen was in good scoring form, making six breaks over 50 and the two resume on Monday at 10:00 BST.

Match schedule – Sunday, 22 April

14:30 BST

Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Jamie Jones (Wal)

Ali Carter (Eng) 3-6 Graeme Dott (Sco)*

19:00 BST

Kyren Wilson (Eng) 7-2 Matthew Stevens (Wal)*

Marco Fu (HK) 3-6 Lyu Haotian (Chn)*

*denotes concluding session of match

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