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O’Sullivan Targets Silverware

RonnieRonnie O’Sullivan enjoyed a 4-2 win over Matthew Selt in the opening round of the Coral Scottish Open and hopes this could be the week to end his ten-month trophy drought.

The Rocket has reached three finals this season – at the European Masters, Champion of Champion and UK Championship – but has lost all three and is still seeking his first title since the Welsh Open in February.

Today he went 2-0 up, making a break of 124 in the second frame, before Selt fought back to 2-2 with a top run of 82. But O’Sullivan dominated the fifth to regain the lead then sealed victory in the next with a 51 clearance to set up a last-64 meeting with Polish amateur Adam Stefanow.

“Matt made it difficult for me today and I was a bit lucky to get the result,” admitted world number 12 O’Sullivan. “I’d rather have had a couple of easy matches to get into the tournament. Hopefully my next opponent won’t play as well against me.

“Three finals this season is not bad but I’d like to have won at least one of them. In the first two I didn’t believe I was playing well enough to win. Since Belfast I have found my game a bit and I’m more optimistic. It would really help if I could win a tournament. At the moment I’m in the habit of losing – I have won matches and got to finals but it gives you a different and deeper feeling when you get the silverware.”

Shaun Murphy made two breaks of 100 in a 4-2 win over promising Chinese teenager Zhao Xintong.

“I was chuffed to make two centuries as for every one I give £100 to Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital,” said world number six Murphy. “Zhao plays as if he hasn’t got a care in the world – I used to be like that! I’m sure he does care but he plays as if he doesn’t and that’s so hard to play against because he gives nothing away. If he keeps going the same way he’ll be extremely dangerous.”

Neil Robertson lost in the first round of three consecutive events last month but today he eased to a 4-1 win over Thor Chuan Leong with top breaks of 104, 135 and 75.

“I’ve made a bad habit of going out of tournaments early over the last couple of months so it’s nice to start with a really good performance this time,” said Australia’s Robertson. “When you have a run of bad results, all you can do is practise harder. I have done that and eventually results will turn around. Hopefully I’ve put my bad spell behind me now.”

Jimmy White’s recent revival continued with a 4-0 win over David John. Veteran White, age 54, opened with a superb break of 133 and went on to make further runs of 57 and 56 in a comfortable win.

Coral English Open winner Liang Wenbo saw off Darryl Hill 4-2 with a top break of 82 while local favourite Graeme Dott beat Jak Jones 4-0. There was another Scottish success as Stephen Maguire beat Zhou Yuelong 4-0 with a top break of 130.

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei top scored with 108 in a 4-1 win over Jack Lisowski while Ali Carter came from 2-0 down to beat Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 with a top run of 97.