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O’Sullivan Opens Up 10-6 Lead

Playing his 100th match at the Crucible, Ronnie O’Sullivan took a 10-6 lead over Luca Brecel in the second session of their Cazoo World Championship quarter-final, and is just three frames away from the next round.

This entertaining tie, in which O’Sullivan’s average shot time is 19.1 seconds and Brecel just 17.7,  returns for the concluding session on Wednesday at 2.30pm. First to 13 frames goes into the semi-finals, and if O’Sullivan makes it then he will be into the one-table situation at the Crucible for the 14th time.

World number one O’Sullivan is chasing an eighth world title, which would put him one ahead of Stephen Hendry’s seven. Belgium’s Brecel had never won a match at the Crucible before this tournament, and must win seven of the last nine frames to keep his run going.

Ninth seed Brecel trailed 6-2 after the first session but made the perfect start tonight with a break of 128. In frame ten, O’Sullivan led 49-42 when he missed a mid-range pot on the penultimate red, and Brecel cleared to close to 6-4. O’Sullivan bounced back with a break of 68 to win the 12th and he dominated frame 12 to lead 8-4 at the interval.

Brecel enjoyed a huge slice of good fortune in the 13th as, leading 58-37, he missed an attempted pot on the last red but fluked a difficult snooker, and from the chance that followed he closed the gap. A rapid run of 81 got him within two frames at 8-6. The luck turned in O’Sullivan’s favour in the 15th when, up 26 points, he fluked frame-ball yellow when escaping from a snooker. And the Englishman dominated the last of the night to share the session 4-4 and maintain his advantage.

On the other table, world number three Mark Allen and Crucible debutant Jak Jones remain all square at 8-8 going into their final session. Allen, winner of three ranking titles this season, is looking to reach the semi-finals for only the second time in his career and first since 2009. Jones is hoping to continue a tremendous run which has seen him knock out Adam Duffy, Robbie Williams, Barry Hawkins, Ali Carter and Neil Robertson.

Jones took the opening frame tonight to go 5-4 ahead. The next came down to a safety battle on the final pink, Allen eventually converting an excellent pot to a baulk corner and adding the black to level the tie. In frame 11, Jones trailed 33-45 when he went for a risky double on the brown and missed his target, gifting Allen the chance to edge 6-5 ahead. The 12th also came down to the colours, and a tremendous long pot on the green from Allen, playing with deep screw to gain position on the brown, allowed the Northern Irishman to double his lead.

Welshman Jones hit back after the interval, dominating frame 13 then adding the next after Allen missed the pink with one red remaining. Jones then edged ahead thanks to a fluked red in frame 15 when he trailed 56-4, which initiated a 63 clearance. In the last of the session, Allen’s break of 61 brought him back level overnight.

They resume at 10am on Wednesday and the winner will be the first man into the semi-finals.