2012 World Championship: Carter and O’Sullivan gain strong leads

ALI CARTER is just three frames away from reaching his second World Championship final after another impressive display against Stephen Maguire.

Leading 5-3 overnight Carter edged out a tough morning session by the same scoreline to lead 10-6 ahead of tonight’s all important third session.

Maguire knew he had to have a good third session to have a chance of making his first ever World Championship final. And things could started well for the Scot when a break of 45 proved enough for him to take the first frame and reduce his deficit to 10-7.

But Carter regained his four-frame advantage winning a scrappy 18th frame on the colours to take an 11-7 lead. The Captain then extended his lead to five frames with a classy break of 134 after Maguire sloppily left a loose red when playing a safety shot.

Problems soon mounted for Maguire when Carter took a 13-7 lead after the Scot missed an important pink and the match seemed as good as over when a break of 73 saw Carter take a huge 14-7 lead.

But credit must go to Maguire who showed his battling abilities winning the next two frames with gutsy breaks of 72 and 70 to trail 14-9.

And Maguire managed to keep his hopes alive by winning the final frame session to reduce his deficit to 14-10. Carrying momentum ahead of Saturday afternoon’s final session – a good start from Maguire could set up a thrilling finale. But Carter remains a strong favourite.

RONNIE O’Sullivan is well on course to reach Sunday’s World Championship final by taking a significant six-frame lead over Matthew Stevens.

The Rocket, who is currently the bookmaker’s favourite to win the tournament, won this afternoon’s second session 6-2 to have an 11-5 lead over the Welshman with two sessions remaining.

But it was Stevens who made the better start of the two players as breaks of 60 and 63 saw the Welsh Dragon level the match at 5-5 after being 5-3 behind overnight.

But that was to be the only joy for Stevens as O’Sullivan dominated the remainder of the afternoon and performed to a high level.

The Rocket moved back ahead with a break of 62 and then went 7-5 ahead at the mid-session interval with a century break.

O’Sullivan did not let the interval break ruin his momentum and breaks of 98 and 94 saw the three-times world champion pull away from Stevens taking a 9-5 lead. Things got even better for O’Sullivan when he took the 15th frame thanks to a snooker behind the pink to go 10-5 in front.

And O’Sullivan finished a strong afternoon’s display in style with another classy century break to give him big six-frame advantage.

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