Ronnie O’Sullivan survived an early scare to overcome French amateur Brian Ochoiski and book his place in the second round of the English Open on Monday.
Sporting pink nails in support of breast cancer charity Future Dreams, the Rocket found himself in danger of an early exit from the opening event of this season’s Home Nations Series after falling 2-0 behind against the 21-year-old.
However, the reigning World champion eventually settled into his stride as he reeled off four consecutive frames to advance to round two at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Appearing in only his second tournament of the season after an early exit at the hands of teenager Aaron Hill in the European Masters, O’Sullivan lost a scrappy opening frame on the colours.
He then fell 2-0 behind as the French amateur produced a wonderful break of 105 to move halfway towards a huge scalp.
These were nail-biting times for the world number two, who had never lost an opening-round match in 14 previous attempts at the Home Nations Series.
But he got his first frame on the board to narrow the deficit, before pulling level with a brilliant break of 113.
The pendulum then proceeded to swing very much in favour of the six-time World champion. Runs of 55 and 52 were enough to see him over the line and book a second-round date with Ryan Day or Mark Lloyd.
Meanwhile, Ding Junhui produced a magnificent fightback from 3-0 down to prevail in a deciding frame against compatriot Si Jiahui.
The world number 10 was on the brink of elimination after losing the third frame on the black, but hit back with runs of 77, 50, 63 and 53 to set up a clash with Luca Brecel or Ian Burns in round two.
World number nine Stephen Maguire endured no such luck, though, as he was beaten 4-1 by Thailand’s Sunny Akani, while two-time Crucible finalist Ali Carter also succumbed to a 4-1 defeat against Jamie Clarke.
Although, there were no such problems for reigning champion Mark Selby. The Jester had a top break of 70 as he whitewashed Fan Zhengyi 4-0, while contributions of 114, 87 and 86 helped Neil Robertson overcome Lyu Haotian by the same scoreline.
They were joined in the second round by Mark Allen and Yan Bingtao, who recorded 4-2 wins over Mark King and Alan McManus respectively.
Elsewhere, a wonderful 139 break was the highlight of Joe Perry’s 4-1 victory over Riley Parsons. The same scoreline helped 2016 English Open champion Liang Wenbo put Jackson Page to the sword.
English Open 2020 Results
Monday October 12
3 Martin O’Donnell 4-1 Ashley Carty
6 Lukas Kleckers 0-4 Hossein Vafaei
8 Mitchell Mann 1-4 Liam Highfield
9 David Grace 4-0 Paul Davison
10 Scott Donaldson 1-4 Andy Hicks
11 Barry Pinches 0-4 Andrew Higginson
14 Zhou Yuelong 4-2 Chris Wakelin
21 Yan Bingtao 4-2 Alan McManus
13 Rod Lawler 0-4 Farakh Ajaib
18 Gerard Greene 1-4 Robbie Williams
24 Noppon Saengkham 1-4 Oliver Lines
1 Mark Selby 4-0 Fan Zhengyi
4 Jackson Page 1-4 Liang Wenbo
22 Martin Gould 1-4 Steven Hallworth
25 Lei Peifan 4-3 Brandon Sargeant
53 Ding Junhui 4-3 Si Jiahui
5 Joe Perry 4-1 Riley Parsons
27 Soheil Vahedi 3-4 Joe O’Connor
31 Tian Pengfei 3-4 Mark Joyce
32 Neil Robertson 4-0 Lyu Haotian
34 Amine Amiri 1-4 Yuan SiJun
23 Anthony McGill w/o Sam Craigie
35 Michael Holt 4-1 Jimmy White
2 Chang Bingyu 4-2 Aaron Hill
12 Stephen Maguire 1-4 Sunny Akani
19 Kurt Maflin 4-3 Peter Devlin
40 Ricky Walden 4-0 Billy Joe Castle
43 Ben Woollaston 4-2 Alex Borg
50 Fraser Patrick 3-4 Connor Benzey
64 Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-2 Brian Ochoiski
7 Ali Carter 1-4 Jamie Clarke
17 Mark Allen 4-2 Mark King