Ali Carter came out on top in the opening session of his second round clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan to establish a 5-3 advantage at the Betfred World Championship.
The signs looked ominous for the Captain heading into this one. O’Sullivan is riding the crest of a wave, having claimed five ranking titles in a single season for the first time in his career. He has also never lost to Carter and holds a 13-0 head-to-head record.
This is the fifth time the Essex duo have met at the Crucible, that includes two world finals, where O’Sullivan picked up the third and fourth of his five world crowns, in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
It was world number 15 Carter who hit the ground running this morning, taking the opening frame. The Rocket emphatically responded, firing in a break of 121 to restore parity. They then traded frames and went into the mid-session level at 2-2.
When they returned Carter took back the lead in style, compiling a century run of 115 to go 3-2 up. O’Sullivan hit back with a break of 96, but it was the Captain who claimed the final two of the session to seal his 5-3 lead. They will return this evening at 7pm for the second of three sessions.
Mark Allen and Joe Perry are locked together at 8-8 after a fiercely contested second session of their last 16 clash.
Neither player is short on confidence on snooker’s biggest stage. Masters champion Allen picked up his maiden Triple Crown title at Alexandra Palace in January. While Perry inflicted defending champion Mark Selby’s first Crucible defeat since 2015 in his first round clash.
They resumed with Allen holding a 5-3 lead after the first session. Perry played some fine snooker this morning to claw his way back into the match. The Gentleman composed century breaks of 105 and 120 as he took five out of the eight frames, including the last two of the session, to ensure a grandstand finish when they conclude this evening at 7pm.