Neil Robertson took a 5-3 lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the first session of the BetVictor Welsh Open final in Cardiff.
Australia’s Robertson needs four more frames tonight to claim the trophy and £60,000 top prize. He is chasing his second Welsh Open crown and 12th ranking title of his career.
O’Sullivan has shown only flashes of the form which saw him concede just six frame in six matches en route to the final. He needs six of the last nine tonight if he is to equal John Higgins’ record of four Welsh Open titles and win his 28th career ranking title.
Chigwell’s O’Sullivan has won nine of the previous 14 meetings between these two but has been second best so far today.
Robertson, who has already won the Champion of Champions and UK Championship this season, took a scrappy opening frame today then added the second with a break of 78. O’Sullivan made 60 in the next before getting a kick which caused him to lose position, and Robertson had a chance to clear but missed the last red along the top cushion and his opponent was able to halve the deficit.
Robertson bounced back with a 76 to lead 3-1 at the interval, then O’Sullivan took the next with a run of 60. The Englishman scored just one point in the next two frames as Robertson fired breaks of 44 and 77 in stretching his lead to 5-2.
In the last frame of the session, O’Sullivan ran out of position on 44, but got another chance and sealed it to trail by just two ahead of the resumption at 7pm.