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World Snooker Championship: Ronnie O'Sullivan on brink of second round after dominant start against Jackson Page

Seven-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan already on the brink of round two at the Crucible after opening up 8-1 lead over Jackson Page; Players to return to complete match at 1pm on Thursday; Ding Junhui loses 9-10 in Jack Lisowski thriller, while Barry Hawkins also exits early

Image: Ronnie O'Sullivan will resume play on Thursday just two frames away from the second round

Ronnie O'Sullivan took full control of his first-round match against Jackson Page at the World Snooker Championship as he began his quest for a record eighth title in dominant style on Wednesday.

But there were more upsets elsewhere on day five at the Crucible as Ding Junhui became the seventh and Barry Hawkins the eighth seeds to be knocked out in the opening round - a joint-record for the tournament.

O'Sullivan though is already on the brink of the second round after dropping just one frame to open up a 8-1 lead over Welshman Page in the best of 19-frame opening round.

O'Sullivan looked up for the task from the off as he fired four half-centuries plus a break of 122 in the fifth frame as he left the young Welsh qualifier next to no chance of rescuing the situation when they resume to a conclusion on Thursday, from 1pm.

Making his second appearance at the Crucible, the 22-year-old Page had plenty of early chances but careless errors cost him dear and he looked in real danger of losing the session to whitewash until he crafted a superb break of 142 in the seventh frame to clinch his only success of the day in style.

Otherwise it was business as usual for O'Sullivan, who has seemed much more at ease with the challenge of negotiating another 17-day marathon this year and started accordingly as he stifled any attempt by Page to establish momentum.

Image: O'Sullivan surged into a 6-0 lead before Page pulled one frame back

Spurning early opportunities in both openers, Page paved the way for O'Sullivan to grab an early lead and a careless missed brown to the middle handed the world number one another simple opportunity to move further in front.

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O'Sullivan took the next two either side of the mid-session interval before Page belatedly showed signs of rallying in the sixth, carving a gutsy 23 on the back of a long red but ultimately running out of position and once again letting the favourite sweep up.

Image: Qualifier Jackson Page is making just his second appearance at the Crucible

Page got a cheer for his seventh-frame clearance, which equalled the highest break so far at the Crucible this year, but it was clearly too little, too late and O'Sullivan duly took the next two to leave him two frames away from a place in the second round.

Wilson secures biggest Crucible win for three years

In Wednesday's morning session, Kyren Wilson, the 2020 finalist, missed out on another Crucible maximum but completed a comprehensive win over Dominic Dale to book his place in the second round.

Wilson potted 11 reds and blacks in the final frame but ran short on a mid-range red as he aimed to repeat the 147 he had fashioned against Ryan Day at the same stage last year.

Image: Kyren Wilson celebrates his emphatic first-round triumph

Nevertheless, the 32-year-old won the two frames required on Wednesday morning to wrap up a 10-1 win, the most comprehensive victory at the Crucible since Mark Selby's win over Kurt Maflin by the same score in 2021.

It marked a welcome return to form for Wilson, who has failed to reach a tour final this season and candidly admitted to off-field struggles involving illnesses to his wife and son.

Dale, at 52 the oldest qualifier since Steve Davis in 2010, was no match for the 12th seed, although he did compile an impressive 120 clearance in the fourth frame of the match.

Wilson, who moves on to a second-round meeting with Mark Selby's conqueror Joe O'Connor, compiled half-centuries or better in all but one of his winning frames, including a break of 123 in the fifth frame.

"A big part of my game is heavy scoring and there are definitely players that are suited to this event and I would like to believe I'm one of those," said Wilson.

"If I play like that it will take some performance in any round for any player to stop me."

What else happened on Wednesday?

Mark Allen made hard work of grinding out a 10-6 win over another qualifier, Robbie Williams, having started their final session 7-2 in front.

The fourth seed, who reached the semi-finals for the first time last year, lost the first two frames of the day and struggled to establish much momentum in the face of a game effort from Williams, before a break of 114 belatedly got him over the line.

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Aston Martin's Jessica Hawkins takes on professional snooker player Ding Junhui in a unique challenge at Silverstone

Jack Lisowski held his nerve to sink 17th seed Ding in a deciding frame for a 10-9 triumph and set up a last-16 meeting with former champion Stuart Bingham.

Ding, the 2016 runner-up, has now been knocked out in the first round for four years in succession.

Wales' Ryan Day dominated the closing stages of his first round match against 15th seed Barry Hawkins, taking the last five frames to win 10-8.

Four time world champion John Higgins, meanwhile, will take a narrow 5-4 lead into Thursday evening's session against Jamie Jones after playing his way out of trouble by winning four consecutive frames. They resume play at 7pm in the final first-round tie.

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