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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 17:00 GMT 18:00 UK
O'Sullivan romps through
Ronnie O'Sullivan
World champion Ronnie O'Sullivan began the new season in style with a 5-2 victory over Mark Davis in the first round of the Grand Prix at Preston.

The defending champion fired in a break of 115 in the second frame and added further runs of 58, 62 and 53 to clinch his place in the second round.

O'Sullivan once again praised his mentor Ray Reardon, who has returned to his side for the new season.

"If I'm not up for it he's always there with some good advice," he said.

"We had a bit of a break in the summer, but it was great to get back on the table and start working on my game," he added.

Andy Hicks delivered the first shock of the tournament sweeping aside reigning UK champion Matthew Stevens 5-1.

I'm a little disappointed but it's just one of those things
Defeated Matthew Stevens
The world number 51 racked up two centuries and three half-century breaks as he completed the victory in just 72 minutes.

Stevens blamed his defeat in Preston on simple back luck.

"I'm a little disappointed but he played really well," said the world number six. "It's just one of those things."

Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion and twice runner-up in the Grand Prix, also went through with a 5-1 victory over Welshman Anthony Davies.

The Dubliner struggled early on but won the third frame with a break of 71, the fourth on the pink and was not seriously pushed in the remainder of the contest.

Dominic Dale, who won the Grand Prix in 1997, made breaks of 108, 68, 61 and 58 in defeating Scott MacKenzie 5-1.

Northern Ireland's Joe Swail reached the second round with a comfortable 5-3 win over Mike Dunn.

James Wattana saw off John Parrott 5-2 to clinch a second round place.

Parrott, 40, winless against the Thai star since the 1996 Grand Prix, could manage a highest break of only 32.

David Gray and Joe Perry, surprise quarter-finalists in last season's Embassy World Championship, will meet for a place in the third round.

Gray, ranked 14th, whitewashed Welshman Lee Walker 5-0 while 20th-ranked Perry saw off Pakistan's Shokat Ali 5-1.


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