Ronnie O’Sullivan will need to be on his best behaviour when he returns for the conclusion of his opening match this afternoon at the Betfred.com World Championship.
O’Sullivan played sublime snooker at times as he developed a 7-2 overnight lead against Liang Wenbo.
But when he made a miss in the seventh frame, the frustration spilled over into his body language as he flicked a middle finger in the red ball’s direction.
O’Sullivan was warned about his behaviour by referee Colin Humphries, and has been told a repeat will result in him being docked a frame.
The opening nine frames of the clash with Liang summed him up, with a touch of the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Centuries in the third and fourth frames, an 86 in the eighth and a 56 in the ninth which could quite easily have become a 147 were the highlights from the title favourite’s perspective, but he nevertheless made more mistakes than usual and was fortunate his opponent offered next to nothing.
Assuming O’Sullivan does not squander his five-frame lead, he will take on Mark Williams in the second round.
Welshman Williams, twice a world champion and winner of this month’s China Open, booked his place in the last 16 by beating Scotland’s Marcus Campbell 10-5.
Williams was struggling for form in the morning session but stepped up his performance after they resumed in the evening and pulled away, winning five consecutive frames.
Looking ahead to the appetising second-round match, Williams quipped: “On that performance I wish I was facing Gilbert O’Sullivan.
“Hopefully it’ll be as good a match as it looks on paper.”
Williams revealed he has been having problems away from snooker, saying: “I haven’t sorted them all out yet but I’m getting there.”
The man O’Sullivan beat in the 2008 final, Ali Carter, made sure of his place in the second round.
The 30-year-old from Essex beat Jamie Cope 10-4 when it was expected to be a close contest.
“I’ve got no expectations, I’ve got no hopes of winning, I’m just playing snooker and seeing what happens,” said Carter.
Frustrated Cope said: “I think I’m going to see a sports psychologist because I do think it’s the only problem stopping me challenging for titles.”
Former poker club croupier Martin Gould provided the first shock of the tournament as world number eight Marco Fu folded against him.
Qualifier Gould, the 28-year-old from London, inflicted the latest in a string of painful defeats for Hong Kong’s Fu this season.
He won 10-9, firing a break of 90 in the decider, after Fu allowed an 8-6 lead to slide away.
Gould is guaranteed £16,000 and said: “It’s my biggest pay day so far but money doesn’t really bother me.”
Steve Davis, making his 30th appearance at the World Championship, will need to overturn a 5-4 deficit this evening when he and fellow Romford cueman Mark King resume their match.