Four-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan breezed past Marcus Campbell 10-4 in the opening match of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
It was his first televised match since beating Ali Carter in last year’s final. He then took a one-year sabbatical citing “personal reasons”, reports Xinhua.
O’Sullivan, who has dropped to 28th in world rankings but still seeded first, built a 7-2 lead in the first session with top breaks of 82, 62, 71, 85, 85 and 58. He extended the lead to 9-2 in the night session with breaks of 102 and 90. Campbell fought back and took the next two frames to make it 9-4 but O’Sullivan got the better of frame 14 to seal the win.
O’Sullivan will take on Ali Carter or Ben Woollaston in the second round to be held next Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
“It was nice to be back. The journey has been exciting ever since I announced that I was coming back and playing. It gave me something to do. I have spent the last five weeks preparing so the journey has been enjoyable,” said O’Sullivan.
“In general my play was not as slick and sharp as what I would have liked. That is all to have been expected when you have not played for a year. You lose that tightness, you need to get in there and compete. I need to get through matches but ultimately it is just a bit of fun for me.”
Campbell said, “I thought I was a little bit unlucky. Ronnie scores very heavily and I did not make too many mistakes earlier on in the day. I thought the early score was unjustified really but I was happy with how I had been playing and the way I conducted myself. That is the best I have felt and I really enjoyed it. I would not be surprised if Ronnie lost in this tournament but then again I would not be surprised if he goes on and wins it.”
In the day’s other match, Michael White took a 5-4 lead over two-time champion Mark Williams.