O’Sullivan faces disciplinary action after Crucible win

Ronnie O'Sullivan.
Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Ronnie O’Sullivan eased to a first-round win at the Betfred World Championship then walked straight into trouble in Sheffield.

The five-time world champion beat David Gilbert 10-7 but refused to talk to the media or carry out the after-match press conference.

He now faces disciplinary action from World Snooker, which could involve a fine.

Gilbert said it was the “best I have ever played without winning” and he was left to rue several missed chances to cause another Crucible shock, after defending champion Stuart Bingham and 2005 winner Shaun Murphy crashed out on the opening weekend.

O’Sullivan returned with a 6-3 overnight lead in their best-of-19 contest.

Gilbert - enjoying one of his best seasons as a professional - looked calm backstage, and he came out in determined fashion. Breaks of 60 and 62 wrapped up the opening frame.

And it should have been 6-5, but the Tamworth potter missed a red to the centre on a 41 break and O’Sullivan nipped in.

The Essex cueman fired in a 101 break - his first century of the tournament - to move 8-4 ahead, but Gilbert cut the deficit in a scrappy frame to head off to the mid-session interval trailing 8-5.

A 61 clearance from Gilbert made it 8-6, and he had chances in the next frame.

O’Sullivan was left slumped over the table, after missing the brown on a 29 break, but Gilbert could not capitalise.

Missed chances was a theme of the match, and O’Sullivan’s 51 break was enough to punish his opponent, who came through three rounds of qualifiers to reach the Crucible.

Gilbert’s 71 break was one defiant last stand to make it 9-7, but O’Sullivan was not to be denied, his 72 clearance easing him through to the second round.

World Snooker issued a statement regarding O’Sullivan’s non-appearance in front of the media, confirming he will face disciplinary procedures.

It read: “All players have a responsibility to the sport, and in particular to their fans. This includes fulfilling media obligations at events. Any players found to be in breach of these rules will be referred to the disciplinary process.”

Elsewhere, John Higgins looked in top form, leading Ryan Day 7-2. Their match plays to and end on Tuesday.