Ronnie O'Sullivan struggles to overcome Ben Mertens and reach English Open second round

Snooker star Ronnie O’Sullivan only just made it through to the second round of the BetVictor English Open after beating 18-year-old Belgian Ben Mertens 4-3 in Brentwood.

Mertens battled back from 3-0 down to draw level with the reigning and seven-time world champion, before O'Sullivan clinched victory with a break of 63 to set up a meeting with Thailand's Dechawat Poomjaeng.

O'Sullivan said of Mertens on Eurosport: "He's a great cueist, he hits the ball well. I like his game. He's going to be around. The sky's the limit for him really.

"I think he has a very good snooker brain, sees the shot, plays the shot. Great lad, and just plays the game nice."

Things also went down to a deciding frame for Judd Trump as he edged Jackson Page 4-3, with his 21-year-old opponent failing to take a chance in the seventh frame to win the match.

Trump said in quotes on wst.tv: "I didn't want to be going home today. It could have been easier because, at 2-0 (to Trump), Jackson butchered a shot but incredibly he got away with it, and after that the match changed.

"He made a mess of certain shots today but overall he has improved massively and he looks a tournament winner to me."

Mark Selby was another big name that emerged triumphant from a tight encounter, getting past Noppon Saengkham 4-3.

Defending champion Neil Robertson made breaks of 110, 122, 67 and 88 en route to a 4-0 victory over Andrew Pagett.

Monday's other results included Mark Allen beating Mitchell Mann 4-1, Mark Williams defeating Matthew Stevens 4-3, 4-0 wins for John Higgins over Gerard Greene and Kyren Wilson against Reanne Evans, and Shaun Murphy posting a 4-2 victory over Anthony Hamilton.

Stuart Bingham, the 2015 world champion, was knocked out, losing 4-1 to Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Yan Bingtao had been scheduled to face Ashley Hugill, but after the Chinese world number 16 was suspended from the World Snooker Tour amid an ongoing investigation into match-fixing, Hugill was awarded a walkover.

Latest news