O'Sullivan dismisses Davis in Welsh Open

Ronnie O'Sullivan eased through to the second round of the Welsh Open with a 5-2 victory over Steve Davis in Newport last night.

Ronnie O'Sullivan eased through to the second round of the Welsh Open with a 5-2 victory over Steve Davis in Newport last night.

The world number one showed only flashes of the form that saw him win the Masters title last month, but he was still relatively untroubled against the 51-year-old.

O'Sullivan, the Welsh Open champion in 2004 and 2005 and beaten finalist last year, took the first two frames but Davis hit back with a superb break of 132 and levelled with a 62 in the fourth.

However, that was as good as it got for the six-time world champion as breaks of 62, 118 and 48 saw him through to a meeting with Marco Fu.

O'Sullivan told www.worldsnooker.com: "I was a bit rusty because I haven't played much since the Masters, I've only played on five days. After Wembley I felt like I needed a rest.

"I can rely on my ability and some steady play to win a couple of matches. I've got to a level where my game is balanced and consistent enough to be able to challenge for tournaments and win a few.

"I'd be surprised if I won this one, but then I've won most of my tournaments without playing that well."

Fu edged a 5-4 victory over Irish player Fergal O'Brien, the Hong Kong potter compiling breaks of 75, 101, a tournament-high 142 and a vital 69 in the deciding frame.

There was better news for Irish snooker fans when Joe Swail also sealed his place in the quarter-finals with a comprehensive 5-1 victory over Stephen Hendry's conqueror Martin Gould in the day's final match.

John Higgins is also through to the last 16 after a 5-2 victory over Dominic Dale.

The first four frames were shared before the Scot won the last three in a row to progress to the last 16.

The former world champion recorded the only century of the match with a break of 101 in the sixth frame, and sealed victory in style in the next.

After Welshman Dale was first in with a break of 33, Higgins compiled a superb break of 60 despite the last three reds being awkwardly situated, leaving himself in position to double the final one into the middle pocket.

Higgins said: "It could easily have gone the other way at 2-2, it was a scrappy match. I thought it might be a struggle for me.

"I'm the type of player who needs four or five days' practice. But I've just spent four days at Center Parcs with the kids so I've only had half an hour practice."

Higgins will next meet Neil Robertson, the 2007 champion, who toppled Jamie Burnett 5-3. The Australian trailed 3-2 but hit back to win the last three frames with top breaks of 70 and 124.

China's Ding Junhui beat Welshman Matthew Stevens 5-3, with a break of 59 helping Ding edge ahead for the first time in the match at 3-2.

Stevens levelled the scores with a break of 86, the highest in the match, however, Ding took the next without Stevens potting a ball and sealed victory with runs of 31 and 28.

Mark King set up a second-round match against former world champion Shaun Murphy with a 5-3 victory over Dave Harold.

Meanwhile, defending champion Mark Selby became the first player through to the quarter-finals as he saw off David Gilbert 5-1 with breaks of 90, 53, 66 and 58.

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