World champion Ronnie O’Sullivan came from 2-0 down to beat world number 127 Brian Ochoiski of France 4-2 in the opening round of the English Open.
O’Sullivan lost to Irish teenager Aaron Hill at the European Masters and then withdrew from the Championship League because of its Covid-19 rules.
He fell two behind in Milton Keynes when Ochoiski rolled in a 105.
But O’Sullivan – sporting pink nail varnish to raise awareness of breast cancer – made a 113 and three fifties.
“It was a tough match,” O’Sullivan said, having made his 1,063rd career century.
“Every time I played a certain shot I expected him to play a certain shot but he didn’t, so I thought I might as well just go for everything, push the boat out and play as carefree as he was. It worked out all right.”
O’Sullivan said he was happier to compete this week as more time between matches allowed him to leave the coronavirus bubble environment.
“You can come for your test and go,” said the 44-year-old. “I have bad stomach problems so I have to be careful what I eat. I couldn’t get my own food [at the Championship League] – this is a lot easier.
“I’m going to get the train, spend a day at home and come back.”
World number 48 Stuart Carrington and referee Andrew Barklam were forced to withdraw from the tournament after testing positive for coronavirus. Sam Craigie, who came into contact with Carrington on Sunday, also pulled out.
O’Sullivan said he could miss the Masters again this season after withdrawing from January’s event at Alexandra Palace.
“I didn’t miss playing in the Masters last year,” he said. “To be be honest I don’t really enjoy that tournament much.”
Defending champion Mark Selby continued his recent resurgence by brushing aside Fan Zhengyi 4-0. Neil Robertson saw off Lyu Haotian by the same score but Stephen Maguire lost 4-1 to Sunny Akani.
Ding Junhui edged out Si Jiahui 4-3 while Mark Allen claimed a hard-fought 4-2 win over Mark King.
Veteran Jimmy White was beaten 4-1 by Michael Holt and let his frustration show at one point by throwing the cue rest on the floor after missing a pot.
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