Robotic Ronnie O’Sullivan into Last 16

Ronnie O’Sullivan compiled a brace of centuries as he beat Yan Bingtao 4-2 in the first round of the World Grand Prix in Preston.

O’Sullivan will play either Robertson or Walden next. Photo credit: World Snooker

The ‘Rocket’ began and ended the game in similar fashion, recording breaks of 137 and 128 to see off the 16 year-old challenger from China.

Yan fought back well from 2-0 down to level the contest and in fact could have taken the lead only for a missed red with the rest, followed by a monstrous fluke from his opponent, swinging the match in favour of O’Sullivan.

The Masters champion, forever making headlines, subsequently offered nothing but mundane, robotic responses in his post-match interview with Neal Foulds on ITV which lasted just over one minute.

This was clearly in response to his blog with Eurosport on Tuesday which outlined his dismay at being penalised so often for speaking his mind during interviews and press conferences.

Meanwhile, defending champion Shaun Murphy also made it through to the last 16 at the Guild Hall, overcoming Michael Holt 4-1.

Murphy has been in and out of form this season, so turned to contact lenses against Holt as a potential solution to his inconsistency.

Recent in-form competitors Ali Carter, Joe Perry, and Marco Fu all managed to advance unscathed as well.

German Masters runner-up Carter, who didn’t have much time to recover following his defeat to Anthony Hamilton in the Berlin final on Sunday, looked a spent force against Zhou Yuelong but eventually got over the winning line in a decider.

Masters finalist Perry and Scottish Open champion Fu inflicted 4-2 defeats on Mark Williams and Jamie Jones respectively.

Elsewhere, Stuart Bingham produced a lacklustre display as he was downed 4-2 by Ryan Day.

Day wasn’t near his best either but didn’t have to be as he took advantage of an unusually temperamental Bingham.

The Welshman has, in many eyes, taken on the unwanted mantle of being the best player to have never won a ranking event title since Hamilton’s triumph at the Tempodrom, so it’ll be interesting to see how far he can go in this week’s event.

Finally, Anthony McGill saw off David Gilbert 4-1 while Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King reversed a 3-2 deficit in edging Stephen Maguire in a nail-biting decider, which the former won with a clearance to the pink.

The afternoon session on Wednesday will see the four remaining first round matches take place with Mark Selby, Ding Junhui, Neil Robertson and Anthony Hamilton among those in action.

Later in the evening, the second round gets under way with the four ties from the bottom half of the draw.

Click here to view the draw.

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