Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan claims he did not feel nervous upon his return to a major eventGetty

Ronnie O'Sullivan emerged victorious from his first significant match following a break from professional snooker with an eventful 6-5 win over Mark Williams in the first round of the 2016 Masters. The Rocket took to the baize at Alexandra Palace having not lifted a cue in a major tour event since suffering a surprise defeat to Stuart Bingham at the quarter-final stage of the World Championship nine months ago.

The 40-year-old, who last won this event in 2014 with a 10-4 thrashing of Mark Selby, took the opening two frames but then dropped four in succession to leave him facing a disappointing early exit. He rallied to take the next three with breaks of 104, 60 and 117 before Williams hit back to force a tense decider.

A final break of 62 eventually saw O'Sullivan progress, however. After the match, he told BBC Sport: "I was lucky to get through. We both didn't play well. When I was 4-2 down, I had nothing to lose and I loosened up a little.

"I didn't feel nervous but it is a nightmare tournament. I only live a few miles away from here. It is mayhem and a circus."

Selby is currently in action against Ricky Walden, with the winner of that contest going on to meet O'Sullivan in the quarter-finals. Defending champion Shaun Murphy is already out following a 6-4 defeat to Mark Allen, while Bingham previously edged past Ding Junhui. Yesterday's matches (11 January) saw Judd Trump and Barry Hawkins beat Stephen Maguire and Joe Perry respectively.