No spam ever. Unsubscribe in one click. By submitting your email address, you indicate your consent to receiving email marketing messages from us. If you do not want to receive such messages, tick here:

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Sam Baird: China Championship 2017 preview - Rocket launches quest for Guangzhou glory

Ronnie O'Sullivan is appearing in his first ranking event of the season (credit: Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan launches his latest quest for a 29th ranking title when he locks horns with world number 50 Sam Baird in the opening round of the 2017 China Championship at the Guangzhou Sports University on Thursday.

The Rocket is appearing in just his second tournament of the new season following that run to the final of the Hong Kong Masters last month, and will be eager to build on that momentum here.

Despite being invited, O’Sullivan opted not to participate in the inaugural China Championship last year, but advanced to the final stages without even potting a ball.

The withdrawal of opponent Zhang Yong gave the world number 14 a walkover through the qualifying round and into the main draw, where he could potentially meet Judd Trump in round three.

However, it will simply be a case of one match at a time for the Rocket, who lost his only previous meeting with Baird at a Players Tour Championship event back in November 2011.

Baird is eyeing a scalp on Thursday (Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
The world number 50 has already equalled his best performance in a ranking event this season, having beaten Matthew Selt and Michael White on the way to reaching the Last 16 of the Riga Masters, and claiming a scalp here would set him on the way to another good run.

Baird comes into this clash off the back of a mixed week at the qualifiers in Preston, where he overcame Jimmy Robertson 4-3 in the European Masters only to be ousted 5-3 by Chen Zhe in the World Open.

Nevertheless, with the likes of Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Liang Wenbo all succumbing to surprise defeats on the opening day of the China Championship, the Devonian will certainly fancy his chances of causing another shock in Guangzhou.

Either Tamworth's David Gilbert or Grimsby's Stuart Carrington will await the winner in the Second Round on Friday.

Play gets underway at 7am BST on Thursday with the best of nine frames determining who will progress at the Guangzhou Sports University.


Share this with your friends

To:
From:
Your comments:

Ronnie O'Sullivan v Sam Baird: China Championship 2017 preview - Rocket launches quest for Guangzhou glory

Ronnie O’Sullivan launches his latest quest for a 29th ranking title when he locks horns with world number 50 Sam Baird in the opening round of the 2017 China Championship at the Guangzhou Sports University on Thursday.

Read more »

You have unread messages

You have unread messages