Ronnie O’Sullivan took command of his World Championship semi-final against John Higgins in ruthless fashion at the Crucible.
O’Sullivan made breaks of 99, 91, 70 and 73 to open up a 10-6 lead, but it was the manner in which he won the last frame of the session on a respotted black which will have hurt Higgins the most.
Higgins looked set to limit the damage – and make his highest break of the match into the bargain – only to miss a black off the spot which would have left O’Sullivan needing a snooker.
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The six-time champion produced a stunning positional shot to get on the black from the penultimate red and a 43 clearance levelled the scores at 58-58.
O’Sullivan’s attempt to double the respotted black left Higgins with a difficult pot into the green pocket which the 46-year-old Scot was unable to convert, the black running down the table to leave O’Sullivan a simple pot into the middle.
Higgins had earlier taken two of the first three frames of the day to lead 6-5, but O’Sullivan kicked off a winning run of five frames in a row with a break of 99, despite having to ask referee Marcel Eckardt to remind spectators in the front few rows to sit still.
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Earlier in the day Judd Trump remained in the box seat in his semi-final against Mark Williams, despite the Welshman’s attempts to fight back.
Trump established a 7-1 lead after the opening session as Williams struggled to find any sort of fluency at the Crucible, but the pair evenly split the eight frames on offer on Friday morning.
Williams ended the second session with a scintillating break of 70 but that merely kept the deficit to six frames as Trump held the upper hand to lead 11-5 before they resumed on Friday evening.
Williams was perhaps still feeling the exertions of his win over Yan Bingtao in the previous round after a sluggish start against Trump, but the three-time winner began positively in the second session.
But after reducing the arrears in the opening frame, he watched on helplessly as Trump rattled off breaks of 114 and 100 to go 9-2 up before Williams knocked in 119 for a century of his own.
After each winning a frame following the mid-session interval, Williams looked on course to eat into the deficit after a break of 52 only to miss a tricky red to the bottom right corner pocket.
Trump produced a terrific 79 clearance to go 11-4 up but a double on the red was the start of Williams’ break of 70 as he ended this session with a flourish.