Ronnie 'The Rocket' O'Sullivan takes off against Shaun Murphy as he starts to put problems past him

Undoubtedly the most eagerly-anticipated match of the tournament thus far did not disappoint in the opening session.

Stoked by Shaun Murphy's criticism of Ronnie O'Sullivan's recent dispute with Barry Hearn, an expectant Crucible crowd witnessed a period of outstanding snooker.

O'Sullivan takes control

After exchanging an awkward handshake following Murphy's comments of "it is always Ronnie" when questioned about the "bullying" scandal, the two former World Champions set about doing their talking on the table.

Murphy took an aggressive stance from the outset, looking to pot at every opportunity. Yet it was O'Sullivan who drew first blood with a hefty break of 91.

Murphy responded with an excellent contribution of 84 only to be subjected to a long period in his chair as O'Sullivan began to hit top gear.

When the Rocket is at the peak of his powers, the five-time World Champion is a joy to behold. Mammoth break after mammoth break followed as 75, 128 and 76 gave the 42-year old a clear advantage.

O'Sullivan did experience a brief spell of frustration in frame six as a mistake halted another purposeful break but he still went on to win the frame.

Yet a series of misses from both players in frame seven resulted in Murphy stealing a frame back on the final ball. However, the Rocket was able to finish the session on a high as a break of 74 gave him a 6-2 overnight advantage.

Hawkins completes second round line-up

Barry Hawkins ensured the whole Crucible could enjoy the spectacle on the other side of the divider as he wasted little time in seeing off Tom Ford.

Hawkins had established a 7-2 overnight lead but lost the opening frame of the session to a half-century break from the qualifier.

However, the Hawk glided into action to win three consecutive frames, taking frame twelve on the final ball after Ford made a contribution of 67.

The result gave the World number seven a comfortable 10-3 victory as he takes a great spell of form into his second round match with Graeme Dott.