Ronnie O’Sullivan is 6-2 up on Barry Hawkins after the first session of their Dafabet World Snooker Championship semi-final.
The match of course is a repeat of last year’s final, where O’Sullivan prevailed 18-12 to lift his fifth world snooker title. And this afternoon the Rocket won five frames in a row at the end of the session to hold a healthy lead (Mark Rawlinson writes).
Number one seed O’Sullivan started the match the brighter and won the opening frame with visits of 63 and 35. Hawkins hit back to win frame two with a 96 break, missing out on a century on the final blue.
Hawkins then took the lead after O’Sullivan over-cut a red, allowing the Players Snooker Championship winner to sweep to the frame with a run of 76. The Kent-based player could also have taken the fourth but a kick on the last red allowed O’Sullivan to clear to the pink to draw level at 2-2.
O’Sullivan, winner of this year’s Masters and Champion of Champions, went ahead for the first time in the match with a break of 80. Hawkins could have levelled matters but another kick in frame six proved costly as O’Sullivan cleared with 39 to go 4-2 up.
A testing final frame win over Dominic Dale yesterday could have drained Hawkins and a fairly simple missed brown to middle cost him in the next frame as O’Sullivan responded with a 108.
The Hawk then had the balls at his mercy in frame eight but missed a simple red to middle. O’Sullivan later clinched the frame with a break of 27 to finish the session four frames ahead.
The match returns for its second session at 10am tomorrow.