Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 4-1 down to win while Stephen Maguire knocked in a maximum break on another entertaining day at the Shanghai Masters.
O’Sullivan was playing in his first competitive match of the campaign so was understandably rusty during the opening exchanges.
It looked as though China’s Liang was going to take full advantage as he took a succession of scrappy frames to go within one frame of victory.
But O’Sullivan, champion in 2009 when he beat the same opponent in the final, dug deep to start the comeback.
With Liang feeling the pressure of a five-time world champion on his tail and a partisan crowd supporting the ‘Rocket’ rather than one of their own, the UK Championship runner-up began to crumble.
Once O’Sullivan forced the decider there was only likely to be one winner and, despite a brief opportunity for Liang to pounce, the psychological damage had been done and O’Sullivan squeezed into the last 16 despite only producing a below par performance.
There the 40 year-old will meet the in-form Michael Holt, who dispatched of defending champion Kyren Wilson 5-2.
Holt has been a much improved competitor on the circuit of late, clearly benefiting from the continued tutelage from renowned coach Terry Griffiths.
Elsewhere, world champion Mark Selby proved a match too far for 15 year-old sensation Yuan Sijun, who caused a major upset on the opening day by whitewashing Martin Gould in the wildcard round.
Yuan managed a tidy ton on Tuesday but that was as good as it got for the teenager as the world no.1 powered to a 5-1 success.
Mark Allen also enjoyed a comfortable triumph as he demolished Indian Open champion Anthony McGill 5-0.
The Northern Irishman’s high break was just 55 but he prevailed in each of the tight frames to set up a clash with home favourite Ding Junhui.
Meanwhile, all four of the pros who qualified but had to endure the dreaded extra wildcard stage emerged triumphantly on the second day of action.
Maguire’s display was the highlight as he knocked in his third career maximum en route to a 5-0 hammering of amateur Yi Chen Xu.
The Scot is in line to win £5,000 in the rolling 147 prize, reset following Thepchaiya Un-Nooh’s perfect break in the Paul Hunter Classic last month which earned the Thai a much healthier £40,000.
Still, any maximum is one to remember and Maguire also compiled runs of 130 and 104 in a confident outing ahead of his first round encounter with old foe Shaun Murphy.
Ryan Day, Kurt Maflin and Stuart Carrington all safeguarded their places in the last 32 as well.
The first round will come to a conclusion on Wednesday.
Categories: Snooker News