'Rocket' takes off in Shanghai

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Ronnie O'Sullivan of England competes during the second round match against Neil Robertson of Australia at 2018 World Snooker Shanghai Masters in Shanghai, east China, Sept. 12, 2018. (Xinhua/Fan Jun)

Ronnie O'Sullivan secured victory in his first appearance of the World Snooker Tour season, defeating Neil Robertson 6-3 at the Shanghai Masters.

Defending champion O'Sullivan enjoyed one of the most successful campaigns of his career in 2017/18, winning five ranking titles in a single season for the first time and securing a sixth UK Championship title.

He picked up silverware in Shanghai last year thanks to a 10-3 demolition of Judd Trump in the final.

The Rocket showed no signs of rust in the early stages this evening and came storming out of the blocks. A break of 91 gave him the opener, before he controlled the second to go 2-0 ahead. There was then a dramatic third frame, which O'Sullivan eventually claimed on the black.

Robertson did take the last frame before the mid-session to trail just 3-1. However, O'Sullivan managed the game and they traded frames until he emerged the 6-3 victor.

World Champion Mark Williams is showing no signs of letting his foot off the gas after another impressive display saw him overcome Scotland's Anthony McGill 6-3.

The Welshman is looking to once again be in fine form this season, after claiming victory at the Yushan World Open last month. Although he did suffer a shock exit at the recent Six Red World Championship against the UAE's Mohamad Shehab.

Williams is in a strong position to displace Mark Selby from the summit of the world rankings for the first time since February 2015. The Welshman is currently projected to overtake Selby by the New Year.

In today's match Williams knocked in breaks of 52, 89, 61, 103 and 61. He will now face Barry Hawkins in the last eight.

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