• Players Championship

O'Sullivan makes blistering start in Preston

ESPN staff
March 26, 2014
Ronnie O'Sullivan will now face Yu Delu in the second round © PA Photos

Ronnie O'Sullivan started his Players Championship Grand Final campaign strongly with a 4-0 opening round win against Scott Donaldson at Preston's Guild Hall.

Returning to the same venue that he won his maiden ranking title in 1993, O'Sullivan made breaks of 109 and 73 to earn a second round tie with Yu Delu, who earlier beat Liang Wenbo 4-2.

"I got off to a good start and I think that maybe put a little pressure on Scott," O'Sullivan told worldsnooker.com. "I feel a little bit rusty, but each match I played in the Masters and the Welsh I got more into it, so I'd rather be underplayed than overplayed.

"I still feel like I'm a little way off sharpness but as long as I can win my first match and my second match then it should click in, I'll gather momentum and get sharper as the tournament goes on."

Mark Selby became the latest big-name casualty as he was whitewashed 4-0 by Dave Gilbert.

"It's a great result for me although I was lucky tonight because Mark was struggling," Gilbert said. "For the last few months I have been playing dreadful but hopefully this will give me a bit of confidence."

Mark Allen hit breaks of 136, 107 and 94 in his 4-2 victory against Jamie Jones, while Ryan Day edged a seven-frame thriller against Stuart Bingham.

"I seem to play better at this time of the season but I don't know why, I don't do anything different," Allen said. "It's purely coincidental. I practise as hard for the tournaments at the start of the season, for some reason or other it doesn't seem to happen. If you can get to the later stages of some events, no matter what period of the season it is, then you've done alright."

Elsewhere, Barry Hawkins made visits of 95 and 94 in his 4-0 whitewash of Stephen Maguire while Joe Perry knocked in a 75 in the deciding frame to beat Mark Davis 4-3. Perry also made a century break of 123.

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