Ronnie O'Sullivan stages fightback to avoid early Championship exit

Ronnie O'Sullivan stages fightback to avoid early Championship exit

Five-time winner Ronnie O'Sullivan has avoided an early exit from the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.

He came back from 6-3 down to beat Scotland's Stephen Maguire 10-7 in their first round match at the Crucible.

O'Sullivan is this year's favourite to take the title.

Maguire squandered chance after chance to reassert his dominance, and an O'Sullivan victory began to look an inevitability long before he crossed the winning line.

Maguire said: "He'll probably be thinking that he got out of jail there so he'll probably be more dangerous than he usually is (for the rest of the tournament).

"Yesterday I could have won the match. Once I went 6-3 I was obviously happy but I think he'd have been delighted with 6-3, the way he was playing."

Maguire felt the match began to get away from him when he wasted a big chance to win the 13th frame and go 8-5 ahead. He sensed O'Sullivan was a different player from that moment.

"I could see he just stepped it up a little bit," Maguire said.

"He never gives up playing me. I've seen him play matches where he throws in the towel and I wish he did that against me.

"That match was there for the taking but he's finished me off in the end quite convincingly."

O'Sullivan said: "I suppose every match is there for the taking and you just have to let it unravel. I was lucky to get through, and that's good for me and unlucky for Stephen.

"It's the toss of a coin with a lot of these matches. I'm lucky in the sense it's nice to still be in the tournament."

He admitted his performance in the first session had let down the paying spectators, saying: "It was so embarrassing and I felt like I wanted to give them all their money back. I was gutted. They took a Saturday afternoon out to come and watch a bit of snooker. Thank God Stephen potted a few balls. I was missing balls all over the gaff."

He spoke at length about his dedication to a healthy diet and the belief it will help him live a long life.

"I think I'm going to live until about 200 now, I feel so good," he said. "The way I'm feeling now is frightening. I feel better now than I ever have.

"I never thought I'd like celery but I'm eating so much of it now I'm going to look like a celery stick at the end of this tournament."

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