O'Sullivan edges out Ding Junhui in Masters thriller

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World Champion Ronnie O'Sullivan came from 5-3 down to beat China's Ding Junhui 6-5 in an enthralling first-round clash at the Betfred Masters in Milton Keynes, U.K.

Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan has won the Masters more than any other player in the world, claiming the prestigious title seven times. He last won the event in 2017 after defeating Joe Perry in the final.

O'Sullivan's victory sees him build on an already commanding advantage of 17-4 over Ding in their head-to-head record. Ding was crowned Masters champion in 2011, but since then has lost in the opening round eight times in his previous ten appearances.

Ding got off to a tremendous start in this latest bout, crafting runs of 83, 75, and 73 to open up a 3-0 advantage. O'Sullivan replied with a break of 103 to trail 3-1 at the mid-session.

When play resumed, a sublime break of 60 saw O'Sullivan, the holder of 37 titles, claw back a frame to make it 3-2. The pair then produced a barrage of centuries; Ding fired in a fine break of 129 to move two ahead before O'Sullivan composed a run of exactly 100. Ding then moved to one frame from victory with a break of 128 to make it 5-3.

Ding, the winner of 14 event titles, then missed a golden opportunity to close out the tie, choking on a routine long red. That allowed O'Sullivan to pounce with a clearance of 47 to make it 5-4. He then forced a decider with a break of 85, after Ding went in off. O'Sullivan secured the final frame with 73 to win 6-5.

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