Snooker: O'Sullivan sails through

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RONNIE O'SULLIVAN, a former British Open champion and runner-up, turned in a solid rather than spectacular performance to reach the last 32 of the 1999 event in Plymouth last night. The world No 3 defeated Tony Jones 5-2 without pulling up any trees.

"The results are more important at the moment than the performances," O'Sullivan said. "Tony is a good player and though he has been struggling recently with his form he has been a tournament winner in the past.

"Of course I'd like to have a good run before Sheffield and build up some confidence. I've not had the best of seasons but that's history now."

O'Sullivan opened up with 73 against his 38-year-old opponent and added further runs of 74, 62, 54 and 41.

He would have expected to line-up in the next round against the Welshman Matthew Stevens, who last week qualified for the final stages of the world championship. Instead, the provisional world No 9 from Carmarthen, went down 5-1 against his fellow countryman, Paul Davies.

Jimmy Michie, who 12 months ago was at the centre of alleged betting irregularities after his defeat here by Mark Gray, beat Malta's Tony Drago, 5-3. Michie's highest break of 85 gave him the lead for the fourth time in the match at 4-3 and he clinched the eighth and final frame 68 points to 31.

Michie will now play the Scotsman Marcus Campbell, who was a 5-2 winner over Martin Clark.