Ronnie O'Sullivan survived a brave fightback from Liang Wenbo to set-up a second round clash with Mark Williams at the Crucible.
O'Sullivan squeezes through after strong fightback from Chinese star
Ronnie O'Sullivan survived a brave fightback from Liang Wenbo to win 10-7 and set-up a second round clash with Mark Williams in the Betfred.com World Championship.
Three-time world champion O'Sullivan led 9-3 at one stage but 23-year-old Chinese star Liang hit two centuries in a four-frame burst that had him reeling, before he eventually managed to get across the finish line.
Crucible favourite O'Sullivan had taken a commanding 7-2 lead into the second session of the match, and when a break of 60 extended that to 9-3 then The Rocket had one foot in the last 16.
However, he had not looked totally convincing and Liang's dangerous potting ability saw him knock in a 61 to stay in the match and then reeled off another three frames including breaks of 103 and 127.
O'Sullivan finally produced a decent frame though and his run of 73 was enough to clinch a tense 10-7 success and move him into the second round.
"I just didn't get going today and he played all right towards the end, he looked quite dangerous in the last two or three frames," O'Sullivan said.
"The pressure was getting on me a bit so I had to find something from somewhere. The nerves play a big part here and unless you settle and find your rhythm then it can be tough out there."
Two-time world champion Mark Williams is next up for O'Sullivan, and that promises to be one of the matches of the tournament if their thrilling Masters semi-final, which went the distance, is anything to go by.
After being so at odds with his own game against Liang, O'Sullivan knows that facing Williams he will need to find some of his best snooker to go through.
"It'll be a good game because I don't think you can get a harder draw than Mark in the second round," O'Sullivan said. "He's coming back to form and other than John Higgins he'd probably be favourite.
"He's probably the only player that can beat John if John's playing well. I think Mark's the only player that could find the game to win against him, so it's a really hard draw, he's playing well at the moment so I could have done with an easier match really."