Snooker: Scott Donaldson stands tall to see off O’Sullivan

Scott Donaldson is through to the second round in Manchester. Pic: World Snooker

Scott Donaldson is through to the second round in Manchester. Pic: World Snooker

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Capital-based snooker ace Scott Donaldson was ecstatic after standing tall and coping with the pressure when overcoming Sean O’Sullivan in a topsy-turvy encounter at the English Open.

The 22-year-old raced into a 2-0 lead in the first-round clash but found himself pegged back thanks to O’Sullivan’s break of 51 – an effort which Donaldson admitted threw him off his game.

But the world No.80 proved it to be a momentary blip, recording a half-century of his own to seal a spot in the last 64 with a 4-2 victory at EventCity, Manchester.

And Donaldson couldn’t fault his powers of recovery as he kept his chances of a deep run at this week’s tournament alive.

“I started off really well, but Sean put in a brilliant break to get to 2-1 and that really unsettled me, so having to claw over the line at the end was far from ideal,” said Donaldson.

“It was disappointing to be knocked off my stride.

“But I came back and made a really nice break in the last frame which was very pleasing, knowing that I can make a contribution even if I’m not completely on top.”

It seemed the morning would go with little strain for Donaldson, who was in a confident mood in the opening frames before almost being knocked off course.

And, while nerves could have been settled with a more straightforward result, the Scot knows that his ability to pull a recovery out of the bag is something which will stand him good stead for the rest of the season.

“You can find out what you’re made of under pressure in these situations, so it’s a nice confidence boost to fight back – you can take a lot from it both for the tournament and career,” he added.

“Every opponent can give you be a really hard game, there are no guarantees of how people will play, so I just have to focus on my own game.

“In the early rounds anyone can beat anyone, so you need to focus on your own performance and hope that shines through.”

• Watch the English Open LIVE on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.