Rory McLeod stands on the precipice of a huge upset, as he leads Judd Trump 9-7 at the Betfred World Championship.
The world number 54 McLeod moved himself one frame from victory, before the pair had to be pulled off to allow this afternoon’s matches to commence.
The Ace in the Pack was backed by many as the man to beat this year, having moved to second in the world rankings following a brilliant victory at the Players Championship. However, he has it all to do tonight.
Trump requires all of the remaining frames when the pair return on the first available table in this evening’s session.
The seven-time ranking winner had led 4-0 during the opening session yesterday, before McLeod staged a fantastic turnaround winning five on the bounce to establish a 5-4 advantage going into today.
They shared the opening two frames today, but the 27-year-old burst into action in the next by compiling a run of 65 to draw level at 6-6. His revival didn’t last long with McLeod winning the next two in a row. There was then high drama in the 15th frame.
In a tense tactical battle, which lasted 49 minutes, it all came down to the blue. McLeod laid some perilous snookers which Trump negotiated. Eventually the Ace in the Pack deposited a tricky shot down the bottom cushion to bring himself back into the match at 8-7. However, McLeod regained his composure to construct a break of 66 which allowed him to win the final frame before they were pulled off.
Xiao Guodong has made a strong start to lead 6-3 in his first round tie with world number 16 Ryan Day.
The Welshman gained seeded qualification for the Crucible by the skin of his teeth. His compatriot Mark Williams needed to win the China Open to pip him in the world rankings, but lost to Mark Selby in the final.
Xiao came through three matches at Ponds Forge to clinch his spot at snooker’s tournament of tournaments and he looked the more match sharp as the match got underway this morning. He took every frame in the first mini-session to lead 4-0 at the interval.
Day came out firing when they returned. Breaks of 125 and 72 helped him on his way to narrowing the gap to 4-3. However, he couldn’t convert the momentum into a first session lead. Xiao took two frames on the bounce, including the final frame of the morning on the black, to open up a commanding 6-3 lead. The match will be played to a conclusion tonight.