English Open: Ronnie O'Sullivan wins 4-2; Mark Selby eases into round two

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Defending champion Mark Selby continued his recent resurgence by brushing aside Fan Zhengyi 4-0 in the first round of the English Open in Milton Keynes.

Selby had already rebounded from his agonising World Championship semi-final defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan by winning the European Masters at the same venue last month.

And the 37-year-old former world number one believes that under new coach Chris Henry he can emerge stronger from the unexpected career dip that followed his third world title win in 2017.

Selby said: “I’m full of confidence at the moment. I was getting frustrated more than anything else, working hard in practice and getting no results.

“I felt that rather than sitting back and going through the motions I needed to change something, so I went to see Chris Henry and it seems to be working.”

Ronnie O'Sullivan was made to work harder for a 4-2 victory over rising start Brian Ochoiski.

O'Sullivan found himself 2-0 down after a 105 break from his opponent, but took control of the match with a century of his own to draw level, and went on to win easily.

The reigning world champion said he was forced to play 'kamikaze' against an attacking, unpredictable opponent.

"I was getting punished for playing good shots," he insisted. "It's like a bad poker player playing with a great poker player - there's no point playing the right shot, you're going to get punished for it.

"I thought 'this is one of those nights, you're going to get punished for playing the right shots' so I thought I'd play him at his own game, but try and play it a bit better."

Ding Junhui came from 3-0 down to beat Si Jiahui 4-3 in one of the more engrossing games on Monday.

Si, sporting a blue haircut, had chances for victory but couldn’t take them as Ding fired breaks of 77, 50, 66 and 53 to win the last four frames.

Neil Robertson’s route into round two was far easier as he saw off Lyu Haotian 4-0 with top runs of 114, 87 and 86.

Michael Holt top scored with 66 in a 4-1 defeat of Jimmy White while Joe Perry made the highest break so far, 139, in a 4-1 win over Riley Parsons.

Stuart Carrington was forced to withdraw from the tournament after returning a positive coronavirus test.

Referee Andrew Barklam also tested positive for the virus, while Sam Craigie, who came into contact with Carrington on Sunday, has had to withdraw.

Carrington, the world number 48, had been due to play Thepchaiya Un-Nooh on Tuesday, while Craigie had been drawn against World Championship semi-finalist Anthony McGill on Monday.

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