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Slender Lead For O’Sullivan

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Ronnie O’Sullivan leads Judd Trump 5-4 after an intriguing first session of the 888.com World Grand Prix final.

The Rocket looked to be pulling away when he won four frames on the trot to go 4-1 ahead, but Trump battled back to all square before O’Sullivan won the last of the session to take a narrow advantage into this evening’s conclusion. First to ten frames tonight will take home the trophy and £100,000 top prize.

Five-time World Champion O’Sullivan is seeking his third title of the season, having beaten Trump 10-7 in the final of the Champion of Champions and 10-9 at the UK Championship. Trump has lifted just one trophy this term – the Australian Goldfields Open back in July.

O’Sullivan has won eight of their previous 14 meetings, and the 39-year-old has come out on top on the three occasions they have played over more than one session.

A cagey opening frame came down to the last two reds, and O’Sullivan failed on a mid-range pot to allow his 25-year-old opponent to clear up. World number three O’Sullivan hit back with a break of 90 for 1-1.

Frame three lasted 41 minutes and included a long safety battle with four reds surrounding the pink, hanging over a corner pocket. It eventually came down to a tussle on the last red, and it was O’Sullivan who potted it and cleared to the brown to take the lead.

Trump looked favourite in frame four until he played a loose shot which left him out of position on the final yellow. O’Sullivan again got the better of a safety exchange and cleared the table. He then fired a 105, his first century of the tournament, to lead 4-1.

But O’Sullivan missed a brown to centre at 16-36 in frame six which allowed world number seven Trump to pulled one back with a run of 50. O’Sullivan lost his rhythm over the next two frames and made a series of errors as his opponent got back to 4-4 with top runs of 46 and 50.

Both players missed chances early in frame nine, but O’Sullivan finally regained his fluency with a smooth 89. The final session starts at 7pm.