Ronnie O’Sullivan again generated all the headlines as he compiled a majestic maximum break en route to a quick and easy 4-0 triumph over Allan Taylor in the English Open on Wednesday.
The defending champion boasted an average shot time of less than 15 seconds as he coasted into the last 32 of the first Home Nations series tournament of the campaign.
O’Sullivan’s record 15th career 147 break came in the final frame of his second round win and came only a day after Thepchaiya Un-Nooh achieved the feat in Crawley.
The Thai player now must share the £15,000 rolling 147 bonus – plus the additional £2,000 high break prize – with the world number three, who caused a stir earlier in the week when he said that the K2 venue was like a hellhole.
O’Sullivan is no stranger to creating controversy and quite often the extra attention then inspires him to produce his best snooker, so the way things are going it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see him dominate proceedings this week in what is the first ranking event of the season on his home turf.
While the “Rocket” surged through with ease, world number one Mark Selby crashed out in dramatic circumstances after Ben Woollaston pinched a 4-3 win on the final black.
Despite often dominating the major events and the lucrative competitions in China, Selby actually has a woeful record in the Home Nations and has never been beyond the last 32 in any of the four events since the series was launched a couple of years ago.
The inaugural winner of the English Open, Liang Wenbo also suffered an early demise as he was downed 4-2 by Eden Sharav while Masters champion Mark Allen lost to Chinese teenager Yuan Sijun.
The short best of seven frames format can often produce days of mixed results for the marquee names and day three in this year’s English Open was no different.
Jimmy Robertson, who earlier this month captured a maiden ranking title with a superb and unexpected success in the European Masters, failed to continue his form and bowed out in a decider to Jordan Brown.
There were victories, though, for Mark Williams, John Higgins, Shaun Murphy, Barry Hawkins, Neil Robertson, Stephen Maguire, and Ali Carter.
Any one of those players would fancy their chances of competing for the top prize come the weekend’s action, although it’s clear from the opening couple of rounds that someone will have to play well to get passed favourite O’Sullivan.
Possibly a prime candidate to prevent the Shanghai Masters champion is Judd Trump, who triggered some devastating scoring to deny Zhao Xintong in a decider thanks to a hat-trick of late tons.
Trump’s pal and the in-form Jack Lisowski has potentially put himself into the running for silverware again after similarly fighting back from behind to beat Ian Burns.
Among some of the others to progress were former world champion Stuart Bingham and two-time Crucible runner-up Ali Carter, who overcame Hossein Vafaei and Luca Brecel respectively.
Live coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest TV.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)