Snooker: O'Sullivan storms back to restore parity with Williams

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The Independent Online

Ronnie O'Sullivan will resume today locked at 8-8 with Mark Williams, this season's China Open winner, after the penultimate session of their last 16 match. The 'Rocket', a three-time Crucible champion, slipped 7-5 and 8-6 behind, but rallied to win the final two frames of the session to restore parity.

Williams – a two-time world champion – impressed with breaks of 54, 99, 48, 44 and 43, but O'Sullivan bravely set up an intriguing finish with runs of 43, 46, 66 and 72.

Ali Carter, a beaten finalist in Sheffield in 2008, has one foot in the quarter-finals after taking a 10-6 lead over Joe Perry. Perry needs to win the match to retain his top-16 place for next season, but Carter – a trained pilot – flew ahead thanks to breaks of 61, 46 and 100 to leave himself needing just three frames for victory.

Stephen Hendry, the seven-times Crucible champion, was left ruing a missed opportunity after he squandered the chance to establish a slender lead over Mark Selby in the first session of their last 16 game. The former world No 1 fought back from 2-1 down to surge 4-2 ahead. But Hendry allowed Selby, the two-time Masters champion, to pinch the last two frames to level matters at 4-4.

Selby started with breaks of 52 and 71, but Hendry deservedly pulled ahead thanks to runs of 96, 121, 52 and 42. But the Scottish player stalled on a break of 51 in the next frame and when Selby found himself needing two snookers, and got them, Hendry conceded 11 points. Selby still needed all the balls on the table and potted them, too.

It was a bad blow for Hendry but obviously lifted Selby, who raced through the closing frame of the session with an 87 break.

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