Ronnie O'Sullivan makes progress in Players' Championship

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan easily came through his opening match as he launched his defence of the Players' Championship Grand Final in Preston.

Five-time world champion O'Sullivan beat 20-year-old Scott Donaldson 4-0 and next plays China's Yu Delu, after he beat compatriot Liang Wenbo 4-2.

"I got off to a good start and I think that put a little pressure on Scott," he told World Snooker's website.external-link

O'Sullivan, 38, has already claimed four titles this season.

After beating Scotland's Donaldson, the reigning Masters and Welsh Open champion added: "I feel a little bit rusty, but each match I played in the Masters and the Welsh I got more into it, so I'd rather be underplayed than overplayed.

"I still feel like I'm a little way off sharpness but as long as I can win my first match and my second match then it should click in. I'll gather momentum and get sharper as the tournament goes on."

O'Sullivan avoided a repeat of the first-round exits suffered by world number one Neil Robertson and Shanghai Masters champion Ding Junhui in this year's event, which is the culmination of a number of qualifying events throughout the season. Mark Selby joined the list of big-name casualties, losing 4-0 to world number 36 Dave Gilbert.

In other best-of-seven frame matches on day two, Welshman Ryan Day progressed to the last 16, beating England's Stuart Bingham 4-3. Northern Ireland's Mark Allen beat Jamie Jones of Wales 4-2, Joe Perry edged out Mark Davis 4-3, and Barry Hawkins impressed in a 4-0 win over Stephen Maguire.

A total of 32 players started the five-day tournament, with £100,000 going to the man who wins Saturday's final.