- World Snooker Championship
O'Sullivan on brink of Crucible final
Ronnie O'Sullivan does not look like a player who has not played competitive snooker for almost a year as he is three frames away from reaching the World Snooker Championship final.
'The Rocket' is in command of his semi-final tie against Judd Trump at the Crucible and leads 14-10, and as he is set to end his career after this tournament, the world champion is playing extremely well and looks good to claim a fifth world crown.
After his quarter-final win against Stuart Bingham, O'Sullivan said he will not play on beyond this year's tournament. He announced in February his return to defend his world title after taking a break since triumphing in Sheffield last May.
O'Sullivan began the evening in fine style as he extended his lead from 9-7 to 10-7 with a break of 51. He then moved four frames clear when Trump failed to pot the final blue by clearing the blue, pink and black.
Given the way both players like to attack, it was a surprise not to see a century break in the contest after 18 frames. However, a poor safety from O'Sullivan enabled Trump to deliver the first ton of the semi-final as his 117 reduced the deficit to three at 11-8.
Trump carelessly touched the yellow with his hand whilst preparing to play a shot with the rest in the 20th frame, and it cost him as a 62 from O'Sullivan restored the four-frame advantage.
Yet another miss on the final blue from Trump handed O'Sullivan the next frame, and Trump was in trouble. But, he was able to make the score 13-9 soon after.
With two frames left, O'Sullivan appeared to be rattled when he was told off by referee Michaela Tabb for making an obscene gesture with his hand at himself, and moments later Trump and O'Sullivan shared a few words in good spirit. The penultimate frame concluded at nearly 40 minutes with Trump one again closing the gap to three.
O'Sullivan though put the previous frame out of his mind and ended the night four frames in front after he knocked in an 89.
In the other semi-final, Ricky Walden leads Barry Hawkins 9-7 after being 6-2 up from the first session.