Snooker: The Masters: O’Sullivan equals Hendry’s centuries record

Ronnie O’Sullivan matched Stephen Hendry’s record of 775 century breaks as he secured a 6-4 win over Ricky Walden in the first round of the Masters.

The defending champion made a round 100 to go 5-1 ahead before Walden fought back with the next three frames.

But O’Sullivan pounced in frame 10 and sealed a moment of history when a fluke on the yellow kept his run going to a 116 clearance.

The feat came on Hendry’s 46th birthday, with him on punditry duties in the BBC studio, but the Scot quipped: “It was a matter of time.”

O’Sullivan told reporters at Alexandra Palace: “I don’t think he’s that bothered to be honest, as long as he has the seven world titles – I think that’s the one that means more to him than anything.”

He added: “I’ve been thinking about [the centuries record] since I got within striking distance and I’m glad I’ve equalled it but it’s more about winning this tournament now.

“There’s a lot of expectation because I’ve won back-to-back tournaments [the UK Championship and Champion of Champions] and I’m going for a third.

“There’s a lot of pressure because the crowd in London want to see me do well. It’s great to have that support but it comes with that pressure because I want to keep them happy and keep winning.”

Next up for O’Sullivan on Thursday is Marco Fu, who made a 147 in his first-round victory against Stuart Bingham.

In the evening session, Ali Carter secured an emphatic 6-1 victory over Barry Hawkins in his first competitive match since being given the all-clear from lung cancer.

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