Ronnie O’Sullivan began his pursuit for a first Northern Ireland Open title with a convincing 4-1 victory over Jamie O’Neill in the first round.
The reigning world champion has lost the past two finals to Judd Trump in 2018 and 2019, but will be looking to go one better this week.
The second seed could face Trump again in the final, but his next task will be to see off either Elliot Slessor or Li Hang in the second round.
O'Sullivan seals opening round victory with sparkling century
“I thought I played alright, I’m pleased to get that win. He’s a dangerous player,” O’Sullivan told Eurosport.
“[The tables] are all playing hard for me at the moment so I’m probably not the best person to ask. Some days your touch is good, sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes you’re chasing the white around the table.”
On his activities away from the table, O'Sullivan added:
I ran eight miles this morning in 57 minutes, so getting fitter. I’ll try and do an easy five tomorrow then go for a 10-miler Wednesday. My aim this month is to focus on my running, it’s a bit hard focusing on just snooker so you’ve got to try and find something you love doing. For me it’s the running, I’m keen to get my times down.
'My aim over the next month is to focus on my running' - O'Sullivan on life away from snooker
Both players had chances in the opening frame but it was O’Sullivan who got over the line with a break of 60, and the second seed made it 2-0 after a prevailing in a safety exchange with the world No 82.
O’Neill got on the board in the third frame, and though he was unable to close it out when leading 66-6, he benefited from O’Sullivan rolling the white in after the green when looking to reduce the deficit.
'One of the shots of the day!' - Outrageous positioning from O'Sullivan
A break of 57 saw O’Sullivan edge closer to victory, and he closed it out a frame later with a classy 125 century.
Super Day sends Murphy packing
Elsewhere, world number six Shaun Murphy was knocked out after Ryan Day put in a supreme performance to beat the 2005 world champion 4-0.
Day motored ahead with an opening-frame 84 and the current world No 40 then backed that up with a century of 107.
A 79 followed for Day, who has won two rankings titles, and he completed the whitewash when taking a scrappy fourth frame.
Afternoon report: Trump eases through
Judd Trump began the defence of his Northern Ireland Open title with a consummate 4-1 win over world number 74 Greene, producing runs of 105, 55 and 88.
The Bristolian, who narrowly defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan 9-7 in the final in 2018 and 2019 at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, had too much class for Greene, who is yet to register a win this season.
However, the 47-year-old Greene opened up a one-frame advantage on the back of a 75 but was rendered a spectator in frames two and three, failing to score in either.
Trump, winner of six ranking events last season, continued his dominance in four and five as he backed up the 105 in frame three with a 55 and 88 in the next two frames.
‘Great cueing’ – Trump dispatches trademark long red against Greene
“I potted a lot of crucial balls to get in,” said Trump afterwards in the studio. He was asked about possibly becoming the first player since Stephen Hendry in the 1990s to win the same tournament three times in a row.
“No, I don’t really look at anything like that," Trump told Andy Goldstein.
I am happy just to be playing snooker at the moment, just trying to win as many games as possible.
Jimmy White added that he thinks Trump is going to be difficult to beat at this rate.
“He got out the blocks quite quick today," Eurosport expert White said.
"Gerard Greene didn’t really play bad, he didn’t really miss anything. Judd potted some crucial balls and some really good long balls at the right time.
‘That’s a fabulous shot!’ – Trump pots glorious long red
“The last tournament he won here, the first three matches he was 3-1 down and managed to win those matches and win the title. If he gets out of the blocks like he did today he’ll be hard to beat."
- Northern Ireland Open: Latest draw, schedule and results
- Northern Ireland Open: Who do O'Sullivan and Trump face?
- Northern Ireland Open LIVE - Trump starts with comfortable win, Wilson faces Lilley
Elsewhere, Mark Williams knocked in a 133 - the highest break on Monday so far - to round off his 4-2 win over Jamie Jones, while Kyren Wilson breezed past David Lilley 4-0.
Northern Ireland Open results
Monday 16 November
- Mitchell Mann 2-4 Gao Yang
- Simon Lichtenberg 1-4 Rod Lawler
- Paul S Davison 3-4 Andy Hicks
- Gary Wilson 2-4 Rory McLeod
- Noppon Saengkham bt Tian Pengfei (Walkover)
- David Gilbert 1-4 David Grace
- Yan Bingtao 4-1 Peter Lines
- Martin O'Donnell 1-4 Lu Ning
- Scott Donaldson 4-1 Sean Maddocks
- Michael Holt 4-1 Soheil Vahedi
- Judd Trump 4-1 Gerard Greene
- Alexander Ursenbacher 4-2 Lei Peifan
- Chen Zifan 1-4 Xu Si
- Mark Williams 4-2 Jamie Jones
- Martin Gould 4-0 Jamie Clarke
- Kyren Wilson 4-0 David Lilley
- Sam Craigie 4-0 Amine Amiri
- Anthony McGill bt Riley Parsons (Walkover)
- Xiao Guodong 4-1 Duane Jones
- Luca Brecel 4-0 Kacper Filipiak
- Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Jimmy White
- Fan Zhengyi 0-4 Robert Milkins
- Ken Doherty 4-1 Chris Wakelin
- Jack Lisowski 1-4 Ashley Carty
- Brandon Sargeant 2-4 Louis Heathcote
- Aaron Hill 3-4 Jackson Page
- Kurt Maflin 4-1 Fraser Patrick
- Ronnie O'Sullivan 4-1 Jamie O'Neill
- Stephen Maguire 4-2 Alex Borg
- Shaun Murphy 0-4 Ryan Day
- Matthew Selt 4-3 Joe O'Connor
- Mark Davis 4-3 Ian Burns