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Ronnie O’Sullivan safely reaches the 2017 China Open as Marco Fu suffers shock defeat

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Ronnie O’Sullivan v James Cahill: China Open Qualifiers 2017 preview – Rocket out to seal Beijing trip

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Mark Williams survives Zhao Xintong scare to qualify for the China Open as Jimmy White also advances

Masters winner O'Sullivan reacts (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Masters winner O’Sullivan reacts (credit: Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Ronnie O’Sullivan sealed his spot in the main stages of the 2017 China Open with a 5-3 victory over James Cahill in qualifying on Thursday, while Daniel Wells pulled off a shock win over Marco Fu in Preston.

Fresh from his record-breaking seventh triumph at The Masters last Sunday, O’Sullivan staved off a tricky test from the Blackpool youngster to confirm his place in the lucrative world ranking event in March.

It was Cahill who made a bright start, taking the opening frame with a break of 70, before O’Sullivan hit back with a 52 en route to levelling up.

O’Sullivan then thrilled a bumper crowd at The Preston Guild Hall with a stunning clearance of 107 to lead, but only for Cahill to edge frame four and restore parity at the interval.

The 21-year-old was left to rue a costly missed brown as O’Sullivan capitalised to make it 3-2, though he recovered well to seal frame six and get back on level terms.

O’Sullivan, though, dominated frames seven and eight to get over the line and ensure his first appearance in the China Open for five years.

Welsh ace Wells chalks his cue (Photo via Getty Images)

Welsh ace Wells chalks his cue (Photo via Getty Images)

Elsewhere, world number 67 Wells defied a high break of 137 from an in-form Fu to close out a shock 5-3 victory in a high quality affair.

Wells had opened up a 3-1 lead with top breaks of 56 and 76, before Fu hit back with breaks of 64 and 137 to square it up, only for the Welshman to reel off the next two frames for victory.

World number two Stuart Bingham held his nerve to close out a narrow 5-4 victory over Thailand’s James Wattana with a high break of 125.

Former Masters finalist Fergal O’Brien recovered from 3-1 down with four consecutive frames to overcome Nigel Bond, while Matthew Selt was ruthless in whitewashing Craig Steadman 5-0.

Former UK Championship semi-finalist David Grace suffered a shock 5-2 defeat at the hands of practice partner Sanderson Lam, while the likes of Kyren Wilson, Ricky Walden and Mark King all came through unscathed.

China Open Qualifiers 2017 Results

Thursday January 26

Chris Wakelin 2-5 Scott Donaldson

Robert Milkins 5-3 Mei Xi Wen

Tom Ford 3-5 Noppon Saengkham

Kyren Wilson 5-2 Michael Georgiou

Xiao Guodong 5-3 John J Astley

Mark King 5-1 Marc J Davis

Stuart Bingham 5-4 James Wattana

David Grace 2-5 Sanderson Lam

Mark Joyce 5-4 Mitchell Mann

Ryan Day 2-5 Fraser Patrick

Fergal O’Brien 5-3 Nigel Bond

Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 James Cahill

Zhou Yuelong v Michael Wild

Matthew Selt 5-0 Craig Steadman

Marco Fu 3-5 Daniel Wells

Ricky Walden 5-1 Zhang Yong