Snooker: O'Sullivan out of the blocks and into his stride

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Ronnie O'Sullivan was focus personified both during and after his 10-4 victory over Dave Harold in the first round of the World Championship at The Crucible Theatre here yesterday.

O'Sullivan was not involved in any histrionics as he added breaks of 100 and 88 to the 139 and 106 he compiled on Tuesday. "It's nice to get the first round out of the way," he said after recording his first victory since losing the Masters final to John Higgins in January. "I got out of the blocks early, got into my stride and put some pressure on Dave.

"It's nice to be involved in the tournament," he added. "I feel like I'm enjoying playing snooker at the moment and hopefully I can have a good run here. I'm pleased with my performance and all I can do now is concentrate on my own game."

O'Sullivan was helped to settle by the 106 break he made in the first frame, which was initiated by what Harold described as an "outrageous fluke".

"That was a killer for me," Harold added. "Ronnie is hard enough to play at any time but when he gets the run as well...

"He kept getting little flicks that helped him and all I could do was sit there and laugh. But he won fair and square.

"He's definitely one of the favourites for the title but I think he will have to up his game a bit. Perhaps he came here with a bit of trepidation after losing a couple of first-round matches."

On the other side of the partition at The Crucible, the 2002 champion, Peter Ebdon, made a great start to his campaign by opening a 4-0 lead over Michael Holt. His opponent then staged a fightback, however, taking four of the next five frames to go into the break only 5-4 down.