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Ronnie O’Sullivan Starts Strongly in World Grand Prix

Ronnie O’Sullivan coasted to victory in the opening round of the World Grand Prix on Monday in Preston.

World Grand Prix
O’Sullivan has never lost to Milkins in a ranking event. Photo credit: World Snooker

The top seed capitalised on a dreadful display from opponent Robert Milkins to seal a routine 4-0 triumph despite not being at his brilliant best.

O’Sullivan, who was a runner-up in this event three years ago when it was previously staged as an invitational, still managed to construct breaks of 119 and 73 as he coasted into the last 16 at the Guild Hall.

The 42 year-old, a three-time ranking event champion from this campaign already while amassing almost half a million pounds in prize money, will be challenged next by talented teenager Yan Bingtao.

Yan came from 2-1 behind to beat Martin Gould 4-2, completing the turnaround with a wonderful 122 in the last frame for glory.

The recently turned 18 year-old, who missed out on becoming the youngest ever ranking event winner when he agonisingly lost in a decider to Mark Williams in the final of the Northern Ireland Open, will have little fear of facing favourite O’Sullivan having already tasted success against the Rocket this season – a resounding 6-1 drubbing in the International Championship last November.

Meanwhile, Michael Georgiou continued his recent run of form, following up his surprise triumph in the Shoot Out with an easy 4-0 defeat of a lacklustre Luca Brecel.

Georgiou only just squeezed into the list of top 32 money-earners from this season who gained an invitation into the World Grand Prix after his unexpected exploits in Watford last week.

Brecel, seemingly struggling with cue issues, was nothing short of awful but Georgiou, the lowest ranked competitor in the tournament, did well to take advantage in such a straightforward manner.

In the evening’s final game, 2017 runner-up Ryan Day and Jack Lisowski played out the first tie of the competition that went the distance with the Englishman coming out on top 4-3.

On Tuesday, several more heavy-hitters will be in action as they get their campaigns to claim the £100,000 top prize under way.

Masters champion Mark Allen, in need of a strong finish to this term in order to finish in the world’s top 16 and gain automatic qualification for the World Championship, meets China’s Xiao Guodong while 2015 champion Judd Trump plays Michael White.

Shaun Murphy, the winner a year later after a dramatic final against Stuart Bingham, battles with the semi-resurgent Ricky Walden and John Higgins faces Ali Carter.

Live coverage continues on ITV4.

Click here to view the draw. (Times:CET)



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World Rankings Top 16

World Rankings after the Tour Championship – won by Neil Robertson.

1. Judd Trump
2. Ronnie O’Sullivan
3. Neil Robertson
4. Mark Selby
5. John Higgins
6. Kyren Wilson
7. Shaun Murphy
8. Stephen Maguire
9. Ding Junhui
10. Yan Bingtao
11. Barry Hawkins
12. Mark Williams
13. Mark Allen
14. Jack Lisowski
15. David Gilbert
16. Anthony McGill

Fin Ruane Snooker Academy