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Rocket Sees Off Whirlwind In Belfast

Ronnie O’Sullivan defeated Jimmy White in a clash between two of snooker’s greats at the Coral Northern Ireland Open in Belfast.

The illustrious pair hadn’t met in ranking competition since the 2010 World Open and there was a fantastic atmosphere for their much anticipated encounter. The Titanic Exhibition Centre packed to the rafters.

The ten-time ranking event winner White was a big underdog going into the match, but he took the lead after producing the better safety in a tight opener. It didn’t take long for O’Sullivan to settle into the game. He produced a magnificent clearance of 141 to level at 1-1.  A fragmented third frame went the way of O’Sullivan and he then pushed on to clinch a 4-1 victory courtesy of breaks of 68 and 95.

“It was hard because I know Jimmy’s game so well and he knows mine so well. You think you know what to expect but he was playing a bit slower than he normally would tonight,” said O’Sullivan. “There were some decent spells in there and made some good breaks. 141 is great but equally winning the frame with two or three 30s is fine.”

John Higgins continued his indomitable streak of form by making the eighth 147 maximum of his career in a 4-1 win over Sam Craigie.

The four-time World Champion landed perfectly on the 15th black after a sublime back double to the left middle. He went on to deposit the remaining colours and put himself in line for a potential £10,000 prize.

Mark Allen ground out a 4-2 victory against world number 106 Michael Georgiou to keep his hopes alive of lifting the Alex Higgins Trophy on home soil. Neither player produced their best, but it was Allen who managed to get over the line with a 109 break to seal the win.

Allen said: “To win in front of my home fans would mean everything. This is like a second World Championship to me,” said Allen. “This is what snooker in Northern Ireland deserves and it would be great if I could give them something to celebrate on Sunday night.”

Liang Wenbo’s hopes of claiming the £1 million bonus attached to winning all four Home Nations events were ended with a defeat to Mark King. The English Open Champion had led 2-1, but three frames in a row from King were enough to ensure he got over the line with a 4-2 victory.

Peter Ebdon beats Adam Duffy in a close match by 4-3. In another evenly contested match Scott Donaldson beat Kurt Dunham by 4-3. Sanderson Lam wasted no time in beating Alan McManus by 4-0.

Hossein Vafaei Ayouri beats Zak Surety by 4-2. Kurt Maflin beats Alex Borg by 4-1. Josh Boileau defeated Hamza Akbar by identical margin of 4-2. Fergal O’Brien outplayed Mitchell Mann by 4-0. Zhang Anda overcame the stiff challenge of Chris Wakelin in his second round match. Zhang defeated Wakelin by 4-3. Kyren Wilson beats Jordan Brown by 4-2 to enter the round of 32.

Akani Songsermsawad beats Mark Davis by 4-3 in a nail biting finish. David Gilbert beat Jamie Curtis-Barrett by 4-1.Mark Williams was too good for Craig Steadman and beats him by 4-0.Zhou Yuelong blanked Allen Taylor by 4-0. Luca Brecel defeated Jamie Cope by 4-2. Michael White beats Chen Zhe in a very close match by 4-3.

Ricky Walden raises his game in a hard fought match with Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn and win by 4-3 to enter the next round of 32. Dominic Dale crushed Tom Ford by 4-0 in his second round match. Fraser Patrick outclassed Duane Jones by 4-0.

Barry Hawkins defeated Michael Holt by 4-1 to end his good run of form in Northern Ireland Open Snooker Tournament. Jack Lisowski beats John J Astley by 4-1. Joe Perry has to work hard in beating Jimmy Robertson by 4-3. Robin Hull beats Lee Walker by 4-2.

In another evenly contested match of the day Sam Baird beats Marco Fu by 4-3. Gary Wilson beats Andrew Higginson by 4-3. Anthony Hamilton beats Ken Doherty by 4-3. Yan Bingtao beats Eden Sharav by 4-0. Robbie Williams beats Yu De Lu by 4-1.

RKG Snooker sponsored Indian star Aditya Mehta showed his class but fails to capitalise on advantage of being up by 3-0 in the best of seven frame match against Anthony McGill and lost by 3-4 in the second round at Titanic Exhibition Center in Belfast.