Snooker: Liang continues form that saw off former champion

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Ronnie O'Sullivan will take a two-frame lead into today's final session of his second-round clash with Mark Williams at the World Championship.

O'Sullivan held a 5-3 overnight advantage in the battle of the two-time champions at the Crucible and extended that to 9-5 with the help of breaks of 102, 50 and 78. But Williams crucially hit back to claim the final two frames of the evening with breaks of 81 and 73 to trail just 9-7 going into this afternoon's decisive session, with 13 frames required for a place in the quarter-finals.

China's Liang Wenbo or Northern Ireland's Joe Swail will provide the last-eight opposition and it was Liang with the upper hand after their opening session yesterday. Liang reproduced the form which accounted for former champion Ken Doherty in the first round to open up a 6-2 lead. The 21-year-old qualifier won the first two frames with breaks of 84 and 90, Swail failing to pot a single ball.

Swail finally got on the scoreboard with a break of 45 in the next but ran out of position from the pink and then played a terrible safety shot to let Liang in to snatch the frame, but did at least take the final frame before the mid-session interval 64-43. However, Liang won the next three frames to charge into a 6-1 lead, and was certainly enjoying the rub of the green.

The Sheffield-based left-hander even fluked a red in the fifth frame but did not realise it had gone in, returning to his seat only to be sent back to the table by a laughing Swail. Swail's sense of humour was being sorely tested, however, as he struggled to find any form, but the 38-year-old from Belfast at least won the final frame of the session.

In the battle of the qualifiers, Stuart Bingham leads Joe Perry 5-3 after their first session.

None of the matches were scheduled to finish yesterday although Scotland's Stephen Maguire did have a chance of winning his clash with Australian Neil Robertson with a session to spare. Maguire, the new favourite for the title, won Saturday's opening session 8-0 and led 11-2 with three frames to play, but Robertson won the last three frames to keep his faint hopes of a remarkable comeback alive.

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