TWO SUPERB breaks from Ronnie O’Sullivan earned him a 5-3 lead over Ali Carter at the end of the first session in this year’s World Championship final.
O’Sullivan, bidding for his fourth world title of his career, ended the opening session in majestic form hitting breaks of 92 and a clearance of 141 to give him the better of the first eight frames against Essex rival Carter.
Breaks of 56 and 117 raced the Rocket into a 2-0 lead to give him the perfect start. But Carter showed his true fighting spirit winning the next frame with a break 84.
Carter then levelled the contest at 2-2 going into the mid-session interval after winning a bizarre fourth frame which saw most of the reds placed towards the right-hand side of the table. When eventually the reds cleared up, a costly foul on the black from O’Sullivan led Carter to grind out a frame-winning break of 33.
When play resumed after the break, Carter was looking in good shape to take the lead for the first time in the match. But a straight-forward missed red when 42-0 up was to prove the Captain costly.
O’Sullivan punished Carter’s error with a break of 52 before he went on to pot the green and brown to go back ahead at 3-2.
A determined Carter started the sixth frame strongly until he ran out of position when potting the blue and hitting the green on its spot.
A bout of safety exchanges took place before Ronnie had a golden chance of establishing a 4-2 lead. But he failed to pot a tough red into the right middle pocket and Carter did enough to level the match at 3-3.
But the two remaining frames saw the three-times world champion at his very best with probably one of the best breaks of the tournament in frame 7.
The seventh frame was scrappy and saw many reds on the cushion and not out in the open. But O’Sullivan managed to pot them followed by superb positional play. The wonderful break of 92, when only a break of 20 or more looked possible, saw him regain the lead.
A confident Ronnie then restored a two-frame advantage with a superb clearance of 141 to put him 5-3 in front ahead of tonight’s second session.