Ronnie O’Sullivan is bidding to reach the final of this year’s World Snooker Championship and win a record-equalling seventh world title in the process.
The ‘Rocket’ will have a shot at doing so if he can get the better of John Higgins in their semi-final, in a tense showdown which currently remains level at 4-4 after an opening evening of play in Sheffield.
Play resumes on Friday afternoon, and picks up after four-time champion Higgins made two half-centuries on his way to establishing a 3-0 lead in the contest.
However, an undeterred O’Sullivan won four of the next five frames with breaks of 70 and 54 accompanied by two superb centuries.
O’Sullivan will equal Stephen Hendry’s seven world titles should he emerge victorious overall in Sheffield, but struggled to get going early on and his stuttering start was emphasised as his average shot time crept over 29 seconds in the first two frames against his opponent.
In the other semi-final action Judd Trump dominated a scrappy first session of his semi-final to claim a 7-1 lead over three-time champion Mark Williams.
Trump took a nervy opening frame that lasted more than 30 minutes and included a re-rack and went on to make two breaks of 70 before Williams responded by taking the final frame before the mid-session interval.
However, 2019 winner Trump would then make three more half-centuries to pull clear, with Williams’ difficulties mirroring the second session of his quarter-final victory over Yan Bingtao – which he lost 6-2.
Concentration lapses punished the snooker veteran who went about missing routine pots to slip behind in the contest.
World Snooker Championship scores LIVE
Thursday, April 28
Mark Williams (Wal) 1-7 Judd Trump (Eng) (interrupted)
Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng) 4-4 John Higgins (Sco) (interrupted)
Wednesday, April 27
RESULTS: Yan Bingtao (Chn) 11-13 Mark Williams (Wal)
Stephen Maguire (Sco) 5-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (Eng)
Stuart Bingham (Eng) 8-13 Judd Trump (Eng)
Jack Lisowski (Eng) 12-13 John Higgins (Sco)
Round Two Results
Mark Selby (1) 10-13 Yan Bingtao (16)
Jackson Page 3-13 Mark Williams (8)
Kyren Wilson (5) 9-13 Stuart Bingham (12)
Anthony McGill (13) 11-13 Judd Trump (4)
Neil Robertson (3) 12-13 Jack Lisowski (14)
Noppon Saengkham 7-13 John Higgins (6)
Zhao Xintong (7) 9-13 Stephen Maguire
Mark Allen (15) 4-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)
Round One Results
Mark Selby (1) 10-7 Jamie Jones
Yan Bingtao (16) 10-6 Chris Wakelin
Barry Hawkins (9) 7-10 Jackson Page
Mark Williams (8) 10-3 Michael White
Kyren Wilson (5) 10-8 Ding Junhui
Stuart Bingham (12) 10-5 Lyu Haotian
Anthony McGill (13) 10-7 Liam Highfield
Judd Trump (4) 10-4 Hossein Vafaei
Neil Robertson (3) 10-5 Ashley Hugill
Jack Lisowski (14) 10-8 Matthew Stevens
Luca Brecel (11) 5-10 Noppon Saengkham
John Higgins (6) 10-7 Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
Zhao Xintong (7) 10-2 Jamie Clarke
Shaun Murphy (10) 8-10 Stephen Maguire
Mark Allen (15) 10-6 Scott Donaldson
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-5 David Gilbert