Snooker - Ronnie O'Sullivan withdraws last-minute from first event of season

Ronnie O'Sullivan has pulled out of the season-opening Wuxi Classic qualifiers, citing personal issues.

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Ronnie O'Sullivan

The world champion, who defended his title at the Crucible earlier this month, was due to play Michael Wasley on Tuesday evening in the qualifying round in Gloucester.

Instead, Wasley will receive a bye in the qualifying round, and progress to the final stages in Wuxi, China, when the main tournament takes place in June.

The 37-year-old had once again hinted at retirement in the wake of victory over Barry Hawkins in the Crucible final.

After winning the World Championship in 2012, O'Sullivan played just one match on tour the following season before a self-imposed exile from the sport.

The Wuxi Classic is the first full-ranking event to be played under the new flat 128-draw format which means all of the world's top players are involved from the start of the tournament.

Other notable absentees include Stephen Maguire and Mark Davis while a number of the new overseas players on the tour have also elected not to enter.

Defending champion Ricky Walden, former world champion Graeme Dott and Jimmy White were among the early winners at The Capital Venue and will now compete in the last 64 from June 17.

RESULTS (seedings in brackets):

Barry Hawkins [9] 5 - 1 Simon Bedford [79]

Chen Zhe [72] 5 - 3 Matthew Selt [41]

Ben Woollaston [30] 5 - 1 Dylan Mitchell (a)

Michael White [31] 5 - 1 Sam Baird [75]

Ryan Day [28] 5 - 4 Noppon Saengkham

Liam Highfield [70] 5 - 2 Barry Pinches [57]

Anthony Hamilton [40] 5 - 3 Jamie O'Neill [86]

Stuart Bingham [7] 5 - 3 Li Yan [78]

Yu Delu [44] 5 - 4 Sanderson Lam (a)

Mark J Williams [14] 5 - 1 Ross Muir

Jack Lisowski [32] 5 - 1 Hammad Miah

Gareth Greene (a) 5 - 4 Liu Chuang [50]

Ricky Walden [1] 5 - 4 Pankaj Advani [68]

John Astley 5 - 2 Mike Dunn [58]

Jimmy White [51] 5 - 3 Lee Page

Robert Milkins [17] 5 - 3 Robbie Williams [73]

Scott Donaldson [83] 5 - 1 Tom Ford [21]

Jimmy Robertson [48] 5 - 1 Ryan Clark

Graeme Dott [12] 5 - 1 Christopher Keogan (a)

Michael Wasley [74] w/o Ronnie O'Sullivan [2]

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