• Welsh Open

O'Sullivan cruises as Williams shocks 'Rolls-Royce'

ESPN staff
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Ronnie O'Sullivan opened his afternoon against Xiao Guodong with an impressive century break © Getty Images
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Ronnie O'Sullivan eased to a 4-1 victory over Xiao Guodong to book his place in round four of the Welsh Open in Newport.

'The Rocket' took the opening frame with a century break of 100, but was pegged back in the second as a 59 was enough to see Guodong level the score.

O'Sullivan did enough to restore his lead in the third and moved within one frame of victory with a vital visit of 54 in the fourth. Guodong kept his hopes alive with a 52 in the fifth frame but O'Sullivan responded with a break of 78 to take victory.

He will now face Ricky Walden, who beat Anthony Hamilton 4-2 to advance to round four. Walden made a top break of 55 in his win.

"Xiao is a quality player who is breaking into the top 16 and capable of winning tournaments so I am pleased to win," O'Sullivan told worldsnooker.com. "That could have gone the other way, which is down to the quality of Xiao. I got away with a couple out there but that is snooker. It is nice to be playing every day here as you don't have to hang around and can focus your mind on playing. At tournaments all you want to do is play snooker."

Meanwhile, home favourite Mark Williams continued his impressive start with a thrilling 4-3 defeat of world No.1 Neil Robertson, who he later described as a "Rolls-Royce."

Williams took a scrappy opening exchange before Robertson levelled the scores with a classy break of 112. The Australian moved ahead after Williams took six shots to get out of a tricky snooker.

However, Williams responded with a run of 50 to level before moving ahead once again, only for Robertson to come up trumps in a battle of safety and force the decider.

Williams was unfazed and, with the balls spread awkwardly around the table, held his nerve to book his spot in the last 16 and a tie with Marco Fu, who scored a break of 84 to seal a 4-2 victory over Graeme Dott.

"It was an excellent win for me, one of my best in a long time," Williams said. "I probably made more mistakes than him, he looked like a Rolls-Royce when he got in the balls and I looked like an Austin Metro, but I held myself together. I potted an excellent red in the last frame when I was behind and after that they were all on - but you have still got to pot them and I haven't been doing that.

"I was going to play safe on that red but I just went for it. I am looking forward to the next match. I have been getting frustrated with myself lately but I just need to shrug it off. I have been practicing a lot, even on Christmas and New Year's Day, and hopefully that is beginning to pay off."

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