RONNIE O’Sullivan goes into the second part of this year’s World Championship final with a three-frame lead over Ali Carter.
The Rocket won another five frames tonight, added to the five he won this morning to be just eight frames away from winning his fourth career world title.
But a determined Carter will be pleased to still be in touch with the three-times world champion as he bids to be crowned world champion for the first time.
Trailing 5-3 from the afternoon session, Carter made a superb start to the evening session as a breaks of 56 and 28 helped him reduce his deficit to just a single frame.
But O’Sullivan regained his two-frame advantage winning a tactical tenth frame before a break of 68 and long plant shot saw O’Sullivan move three frames clear leading 7-4.
With Ronnie starting to pull away from his rival, Carter did enough to win a crucial 12th frame and to keep his pre-session two frame deficit in tact at the mid-session interval.
And Carter going back to his hotel tonight will feel a sense of ‘what if’ after missing two blacks on its spot in the 13th frame proving his downfall as Ronnie extended his lead to 8-5 after the restart. If Carter potted them blacks then things could have been different.
Luck was not going Carter’s way and when the cueball went into the pocket after a fabulous long pot on a red he may have asked to himself whether it was going to be his night. O’Sullivan put the frame beyond doubt to go four frames clear for the first time at 9-5.
But Carter got a much-needed frame on the board after a brave cut on a red into the right middle pocket paved the way for a break of 59 to seal the frame.
O’Sullivan moved 10-6 ahead with a break of 62 before Carter won the crucial final frame of the session as a flukish long red helped him keep in touch of his opponent just three frames behind.
A five-frame deficit would have left Carter with it all to do on Monday. But a three-frame deficit keeps him in touch and still with a fighting chance of being crowned world champion.