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Ronnie O'Sullivan withstands Pang Junxu comeback to reach World Championship last 16

O'Sullivan withstands Pang comeback to reach second round
© Reuters
Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan reaches the second round of the World Snooker Championship with a 10-7 victory over Pang Junxu.

Ronnie O'Sullivan has begun the defence of his world title with a 10-7 victory over Pang Junxu at the World Snooker Championship.

The seven-time champion had been drawn against a recent Welsh Open semi-finalist and WST Classic runner-up, yet his far superior Crucible experience stood him in good stead.

O'Sullivan cruised into a 5-0 advantage, helped by breaks of 61, 53 and 71, but Pang hit back with a 133 break for his first frame at the tournament.

The Chinese player followed that with an 83 but the final two frames of the morning session were shared, keeping O'Sullivan in the ascendancy.

The world number one soon extended his lead to 8-3 in the evening, and although he squandered an opening in frame 12, the Englishman was 9-4 ahead at the mid-session interval.

However, Pang was not prepared to conceded defeat, producing breaks of 78 and 80 to reduce the deficit to 9-6 and a 73 brought him further closer to O'Sullivan.

An early missed red cost Pang in the 17th frame, though, and O'Sullivan subsequently recorded an 81 clearance to book a last-16 showdown with either Ding Junhui or Hossein Vafaei.

Earlier in the day, Stuart Bingham opened up a lead over David Gilbert, Neil Robertson leads Wu Yize and Luca Brecel is in front versus Ricky Walden, all by 6-3 scorelines.

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Ronnie O'Sullivan pictured in 2016
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