World Championship 2013: Ronnie O'Sullivan cruises through

 

World Snooker Championship

  • Saturday, 20 April - Monday, 6 May: BBC HD, BBC Radio 5 live, online on the BBC Sport website, mobile and the BBC Sport app

Ronnie O'Sullivan made a winning return to snooker with a stunning 10-4 first round victory over Marcus Campbell at the Crucible.

O'Sullivan, 37, has played only one competitive match since winning his fourth world title last May.

He won the first frame with an 82 and further breaks in the 80s helped him lead 7-2 after the first session.

O'Sullivan made it 9-2 with scores of 102 and 90, but Campbell responded before O'Sullivan sealed the win.

He will meet either fellow Essex player Ali Carter, who he beat 18-11 in last year's final, or Crucible debutant Ben Woollaston in the second round.

Crucible winners since 2000

Neil Robertson
  • Mark Williams - 2000, 2003
  • Ronnie O'Sullivan - 2001, 2004, 2008, 2012
  • Peter Ebdon - 2002
  • Shaun Murphy - 2005
  • Graeme Dott - 2006
  • John Higgins - 2007, 2009, 2011
  • Neil Robertson - 2010 (pictured)

"I was not sure how the match was going to go and not sure how I was going to compete, it was an experiment in some sorts of ways," said O'Sullivan.

"In general I wasn't as slick or as tight as usual. But you've got to expect that if you've not played for a year, you can only get that through matches.... it's like trying to get fit for a marathon the day before a marathon starts."

While former world champion Peter Ebdon claimed O'Sullivan looked in better form in practice than last year, many good judges expected him to be rusty after his long sabbatical.

However, O'Sullivan, who was given a rapturous reception on his return, needed only one chance to win the first frame.

Missed opportunities in the third and fourth frames proved costly for World number 27 Campbell as O'Sullivan went into the mid-session interval 3-1 ahead.

O'Sullivan nicked a scrappy fifth frame before rattling in a break of 85 in the next to move into a 5-1 lead.

Scotsman Campbell, 40, reduced the deficit to three frames with a break of 54 but clearances of 86 and 58 saw O'Sullivan end the first session with a five-frame advantage.

O'Sullivan needed only 93 minutes of the evening session to wrap up the match, reeling off breaks of 102 and 90 before sealing victory in a scrappy final frame.

"I felt as though 7-2 was a bit unjustified," said Campbell. "I wouldn't say I made a fight of it but how I came out of that first session 7-2 down is beyond me. It was due to his brilliance when he gets in and around the balls, he's so clinical.

"He could certainly go and win it and batter everybody, but given the amount of quality players in the field I wouldn't be surprised if he lost.

"His long game would probably have to be better to beat the very best guys but he's different class, and he does it so quickly. You'll be having a scrap and all of a sudden his got a break of 60."

Meanwhile, the all-Welsh tussle between two-time champion Mark Williams and debutant Michael White was closely fought, with 21-year-old White, from Neath, edging into a 5-4 lead, in a match that finishes on Sunday afternoon.

The 2005 champion Shaun Murphy came from two frames down to take a 5-4 lead over qualifier Martin Gould into Sunday's evening session.

Ricky Walden claimed his first victory at the Crucible, completing a 10-1 win over Michael Holt on Sunday morning.

The world number 13, making his third appearance at the World Championship, led 8-1 overnight in his opener and, with the minimum of fuss, put Nottingham man Holt out of his misery.

Barry Hawkins, a winner in Australia this season, leads 21-year-old Jack Lisowski 6-3 after the first session of their match and will play to a finish on Sunday evening.