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Ronnie O'Sullivan into second round of World Snooker Championship with 10-1 demolition of Jackson Page

Ronnie O'Sullivan thumps Jackson Page 10-1 to reach second round of World Snooker Championship; seven-time champion to play Ryan Day in second round at The Crucible; John Higgins also into round two after 10-6 win over Jamie Jones

Ronnie O'Sullivan (PA Images)
Image: Ronnie O'Sullivan will face Ryan Day in the second round of the World Snooker Championship at The Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan breezed into the second round of the World Snooker Championship as he began his pursuit of a record eighth title with a 10-1 demolition of Jackson Page at The Crucible.

O'Sullivan - aiming to become just the fourth man, after Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Mark Williams, to win The Masters, UK Championship and World Championship in the same season - led Page 8-1 overnight and wrapped up victory on Thursday afternoon.

The 48-year-old will play Ryan Day in the last 16 following Day's 10-8 win over 15th seed Barry Hawkins on Wednesday night.

Day's victory means the number of seeds dumped out in the first round has reached a record-equalling eight, with defending champion Luca Brecel and four-time winner Mark Selby among those to fall.

O'Sullivan has won five tournaments already this season, with his Masters and UK Championship triumphs, for a record eighth time each, joined by victories at the World Grand Prix, Shanghai Masters and World Masters of Snooker.

The Rocket's win over Welsh qualifier Page - who took his only frame of the match with a superb 142 break - was his most emphatic since beating Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-1 in the first round four years ago.

O'Sullivan moved one frame from victory over Page with a 79 break and then booked his place in the second round in 40 minutes.

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Image: O'Sullivan says he is playing as well in practice as he has for six or seven years

'I have played terrible for two years but I know how to win'

Ronnie O'Sullivan, speaking to the BBC:

"I was pleased with my performance. I played and cued well which was good. Jackson is a really good player so I knew I had to be on my game. It was one of the hardest first-round draws I could have got.

"I played terrible for two years but I know how to win. That is something I am blessed with. I don't lie when I say I am not playing well. A lot of people think I am but I am not a liar. I say what I feel.

"I haven't really cued smoothly but I have started working with Nic Barrow, a coach who knows my game inside out, as I decided I can't coach myself anymore.

"I have felt as good on the practice tables in the last couple of weeks as I have in the last six to seven years.

"I just play. The harder the test the more I see it as a challenge. I have trained hard all my life and I am mentally tough and ready to play whenever."

Higgins also into round two - but is this his final year at Crucible?

John Higgins (PA Images)
Image: John Higgins leads Jamie Jones 5-4 in Sheffield, with that match concluding from 7pm on Thursday

Four-time world champion John Higgins - who won the title at The Crucible in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011 - completed a 10-6 win over Jamie Jones to book his place in the second round for the 26th time in his career.

Resuming from Wednesday evening's opening session with a slender 5-4 advantage, Higgins won the first two frames to assume control, but began to feel tension after a missed pink in the next enabled Jones to reduce the deficit.

Even at 9-6, Higgins looked far from convincing and another missed pink hauled the Welshman back into the contest before the veteran Scot ultimately limped over the line.

Higgins, who will face Mark Allen in the last 16, said: "I began to miss a few and thought, 'oh no, don't do this again'. Obviously you don't want it going 9-7 or 9-8.

"Who knows where I'll be in a few months' time, but my only focus was getting through that first round game and having a crack at Mark Allen."

Higgins, 48, recently that he would "evaluate his future" at the end of the tournament.

In the first of the second-round ties, third seed Judd Trump will take a commanding 6-2 lead into Friday's second session against Tom Ford.

Trump punished Ford for missing a routine red when he was 63 points up in the fifth frame, and on the verge of establishing a 3-2 lead. Instead the former champion hit back to snatch the frame, and subsequent breaks of 52 and 69 set him up to also win the last frame of the session and move four clear in the race for a place in the quarter-finals.

David Gilbert, who beat defending champion Luca Brecel in the opening round, built a 5-3 lead against Robert Milkins in the opening session of their last-16 clash, which resumes to a finish on Friday.

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