Ronnie O'Sullivan makes progress in Players' Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan easily came through his opening match as he launched his defence of the Players' Championship Grand Final in Preston.

Five-time world champion O'Sullivan beat 20-year-old Scott Donaldson 4-0 and next plays China's Yu Delu, after he beat compatriot Liang Wenbo 4-2.

"I got off to a good start and I think that put a little pressure on Scott," he told World Snooker's website. 

O'Sullivan, 38, has already claimed four titles this season.

After beating Scotland's Donaldson, the reigning Masters and Welsh Open champion added: "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."

O'Sullivan avoided a repeat of the first-round exits suffered by world number one Neil Robertson and Shanghai Masters champion Ding Junhui in this year's event, which is the culmination of a number of qualifying events throughout the season. Mark Selby joined the list of big-name casualties, losing 4-0 to world number 36 Dave Gilbert.

In other best-of-seven frame matches on day two, Welshman Ryan Day progressed to the last 16, beating England's Stuart Bingham 4-3. Northern Ireland's Mark Allen beat Jamie Jones of Wales 4-2, Joe Perry edged out Mark Davis 4-3, and Barry Hawkins impressed in a 4-0 win over Stephen Maguire.

A total of 32 players started the five-day tournament, with £100,000 going to the man who wins Saturday's final.