Ronnie O'Sullivan v Stephen Maguire: O'Sullivan mounts glorious fightback to reach last 16
Ronnie O'Sullivan completed a rousing recovery to secure a superb 10-7 victory over Stephen Maguire at the World Championship in Sheffield.
O'Sullivan, who was 4-0 down at the start of the first-round meeting after a sluggish opening, roared back on Sunday to seal his progression with a 7-1 win in the second session having lost the first one 6-3.
The five-time world champions, who now has a 19-4 record over Maguire, would not be denied as he powered through the final frames with a sense of calm engulfing his play as breaks of 86, 84, 53 and 77 boosted his progress.
After overcoming The Maverick, O'Sullivan will next face the winner of Graeme Dott and Ali Carter in the second round at the Crucible.
“The first session was so embarrassing, I felt like giving the fans their money back,” said O’Sullivan, who puts his longevity down to eating well.
“I wanted to battle through, and make the scoreline a bit respectable. When I got three frames on the board I went home thinking, I’ve had a result really. It gave me a little bit of belief today.
“I’ve changed what I eat, I’m never hungry, and I’ve got massive amounts of energy. I’d never thought I’d like celery, but I’m eating so much of it now.
"I suppose compared to the average person in Britain, I’ll always look well because we aren’t the healthiest society. If you go to other continents, they eat proper food, whereas over here it’s all pre-packed meals and that’s why we have a problem with obesity."
Maguire lamented letting the victory slip from his grasp.
"Ronnie got out of jail and so he is going to be more dangerous than he already is. Yesterday I could have won the match but then he went nuts for a couple of frames and got back in the match," he said.
"I will now float around the top 32 for the next few years without breaking into the top 16. I have to get on with it and accept that these boys are a step better than me. Players have improved and I have stayed the same. When they play well they are awesome, I do not have that."
Dott leads that one 6-3 before they play to a finish on Sunday afternoon from 2:30pm.
In the opening session of Sunday morning's other first-round match, Masters champion Mark Allen opened up a 6-3 lead over Liam Highfield.
FIRST SESSION REPORT
Ronnie O'Sullivan has a fight on his hands to salvage his World Championship hopes after falling 6-3 behind to Stephen Maguire in the first round at the Crucible.
Tournament favourite and five-times champion O'Sullivan was wasteful among the balls in the first four frames as former UK Champion Maguire dominated without having to be at his best.
The Scotsman opened with a break of 101 and produced 95 in the third frame as O'Sullivan faced losing in the first round for the first time since 2003.
O’Sullivan has not been beaten in the opening round in Sheffield since losing 10-6 to Marco Fu 15 years ago, but landing a tie against two-time losing semi-finalist Maguire presented him with a major early test.
O'Sullivan appeared to have stopped the rot by winning a scrappy fifth frame boosted by a 54 before back-to-back centuries of 118 and 110 saw him close to one behind.
But O'Sullivan never exuded the air of a man in control as an awful attempt to escape from a snooker gave Maguire a free ball that he benefited from for a 5-3 advantage before a closing break of 84 gave him a three-frame overnight lead.
The sloppy play and lethargic body language is certainly a concern for a man chasing a sixth world title to equal the haul of Steve Davis and Ray Reardon in Sheffield.
The first man to 10 frames reaches the second round when they play to a finish at 10am on Sunday morning.
Sunday 22 April
- Mark Allen (16) 6-3 Liam Highfield
- Ronnie O'Sullivan (2) 10-7 Stephen Maguire
- Shaun Murphy (8) v Jamie Jones
- Ali Carter (15) v Graeme Dott
- Kyren Wilson (9) v Matthew Stevens
- Marco Fu (11) v Lyu Haotian