Ronnie O'Sullivan put an uncertain start behind him to share the opening eight frames of his World Championship semi-final with Stephen Hendry. O'Sullivan won the final three frames of the initial session to level the best-of-33 match 4-4 against the seven-times champion.
O'Sullivan started as favourite to beat Hendry, who he had thrashed 17-4 in their last Crucible tie, a semi-final meeting four years ago. But his long potting has been his weakness during the tournament and he tried to rein in his natural attacking instincts.
Hendry took full advantage in the opening frame when O'Sullivan refused a long red and produced a poor safety shot. Hendry cued fluently as he made a 140 total clearance and it was half an hour before O'Sullivan potted his first ball, mid-way through the second frame. He looked set to take the frame after knocking in the final long red but missed a thin cut on the blue and Hendry fortuitously doubled the same ball to leave his opponent needing snookers.
A break of 60 helped Hendry stretch his lead to 3-0 and both players were guilty of mistakes in the final frame before the break but O'Sullivan finally opened his account.
Hendry regained his three-frame advantage after seeing O'Sullivan break down on 64. After a run of 41, Hendry was fortunate to snooker O'Sullivan on the final green and although he escaped, he left the ball over the pocket.
O'Sullivan came to life in frame six and some superb shots helped him to a 102 break. A missed black off its spot when 46-0 ahead did not prove costly in the session's last frame.
Joe Perry chiselled out a two frame advantage over Ali Carter after the opening session of their semi-final. Perry took advantage of a below-par performance from Carter, who would have been relatively happy to be trailing only 5-3.