O'Sullivan sees off Ding
Defending champion Ding Junhui fell at the first hurdle in the BGC Masters, losing 6-4 to four-time former champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Last Updated: 15/01/12 11:26pm
Defending champion Ding Junhui fell at the first hurdle in the BGC Masters at Alexandra Palace, losing 6-4 to four-time former champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.
O'Sullivan thrilled a packed crowd in the first match played at the tournament's new home after its move from Wembley, claiming the final two frames to win 6-4 and finishing off with a classy 125.
O'Sullivan had led 4-1 and looked to be cruising through to the quarter-finals, but Ding's fightback began with a fluked red and he levelled the match.
But a break of 51 helped the crowd's favourite to regain the lead before the closing century put an impressive seal on his success.
Ding lost the opening frame despite making a break of 58, and errors from the Chinese player handed O'Sullivan the second too.
It looked like being 3-0 when O'Sullivan went 48-0 ahead in the next frame, but Ding was allowed back to the table and cut into that lead before returning to pot a superb long red and sufficient colours.
A swift 76 from O'Sullivan restored the two-frame cushion at the interval, and a similarly fluent 62, sparked by a magnificent red along a side cushion, carried the 36-year-old former world number one into an even healthier position.
Ding trailed 45-13 in the sixth frame, but the match turned when O'Sullivan missed an awkward red and his opponent rifled a red into the jaws of the yellow pocket, from where it rolled across the table into the green pocket.
Ding took that frame, the next thanks to a 59, and levelled the match with runs of 28 and 35.
O'Sullivan was becoming erratic, but it was only a lull in his performance.
From that point Ding barely saw any table time, left to watch from his seat as the man who beat him in the 2007 Masters final repeated the trick.
O'Sullivan was delighted to get over the winning line in front of his children Lily Jo and Ronnie and carried his son out of the arena at the end of the match.
"It was nice for them to see me play, and nice to have them here," he said. "It was a tough match to be fair."
He will face either UK champion Judd Trump or Stuart Bingham in his next match on Thursday.
Mark Williams followed O'Sullivan in reaching the second round with a 6-4 victory over Stephen McGuire in Sunday's evening session.
A 57 break took the Welshman to the brink of winning the first frame but he eventually had to take it on the final black after his opponent had threatened a comeback.
Williams took the second thanks to a break of 72 and the next with a 64, before runs of 35 and 53 ensured a sweep of the pre-interval frames and put him firmly in control of the contest.
Maguire did come back to the table in better form, claiming the next two to cut the deficit in half, only for his rival to win a low-key seventh frame to move within sight of the finishing line.
Some excellent safety play in a cagey eighth, followed by a break 77 in the next, got Maguire right back in it at 5-4, only for Williams to knock in a match-winning 51 in the 10th frame.