Monday 22 January 2018

O'Sullivan sees off White in Belfast Snooker

Ronnie O'Sullivan beat veteran Jimmy White 4-1 at the Northern Ireland Open after John Higgins had earlier notched a maximum 147 in Belfast yesterday.

White won frame one against the five-time world champion but O'Sullivan, 40, replied with a 141 break before going on to clinch victory with a run of 95. O'Sullivan gave White several chances which the 54-year-old couldn't exploit.

John Higgins' maximum sealed a 4-1 win over England's Sam Craigie with the in-form Scot hitting two further centuries.

The 41-year-old Scot, who will next face China's Zhou Yuelong in the last 32, is chasing a third title in successive wins after winning the China Championship and Champion of Champions but said the eighth maximum of his career gave him "the biggest buzz".

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen came from a frame behind to defeat England's Michael Georgiou 4-2, while Dubliner Fergal O'Brien drubbed Mitchell Mann 4-0, while Kildare's Josh Boileau recorded a 4-2 win against Hamza Akbar.


Andy MURRAY trawled deep into his energy reserves to outlast Japan's Kei Nishikori 6-7(9) 6-4 6-4 yesterday in the longest match since the ATP World Tour Finals moved to London.

The misfiring world No 1 looked in trouble when Nishikori edged a hair-raising tiebreak to win an 85-minute opening set but hit back to win in three hours and 20 minutes. It was revenge for the five-set defeat he suffered at the hands of Nishikori in the US Open quarter-finals, his last Tour level loss since embarking on a 21-match winning streak that allowed him to end Novak Djokovic's 122-week hold on power.

"I just fought really hard. Kei was making me run and was dictating the points, but then I was starting to get a few free points on my serve and made him work hard on his return," Murray said.

Novak Djokovic is already through and defeat against Nishikori would have severely harmed Murray's chances of holding onto his world No 1 spot.

Irish Independent

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