Snooker: O'Sullivan in control while Ebdon and Fu drive the crowd potty

Ronnie O'Sullivan has yet to hit his awesome stride at this year's world championship but even a below-par Rocket is too good for most as the twice champion proved last night in building up a 5-3 overnight lead in his semi-final against Graeme Dott.

Dott cued serenely, scored heavily and held his own in the safety exchanges in the opening four frames but could still only share them, and then lost three on the bounce before a composed 70 break to take the last. O'Sullivan let him in with a miss when 44-2 ahead.

Dott made 121 with his first visit to the table of the night for 1-0. O'Sullivan edged the second with a 34. Dott, who won the first five frames the last time this pair met at the Crucible ­ in the 2004 final ­ hit a 68 for 2-1 but O'Sullivan won the next four for 5-2, with a 66 break in the fifth his top score of the evening.

The evening's action was in stark contrast to the first session of the other semi, between Peter Ebdon and Marco Fu. The BBC studio at the Crucible received an email from two snooker fans in Belgium shortly before 6pm. Anticipating a couple of hours watching Ebdon-Fu, they had opened a bottle of wine. By the time they sent the email, four hours after it started, the match was still in only the seventh frame, and the Belgians were on their third bottle.

As they polished it off, Ebdon took a 4-3 lead, and it's not hard to imagine them being well into bottle number four before Fu levelled at 4-4 to conclude their day at 6.48pm.

There may have been slower, patchier, edgier, cagier sessions in the world semi-finals, but if anyone could remember yesterday, they were probably too comatose to speak up and say when.

One punter in the crowd spoke up, at about 6.20pm. "Come on lads, get on with it," he shouted. "It's like watching paint dry!" The fan was given the verbal equivalent of a yellow card by the referee. Securing a yellow at the first attempt was a feat worthy of praise yesterday.

In defence of the protagonists, a world semi-final is about as high-stakes as it gets, not least for Fu, who has never been this far before and is only the second man from Asia to reach the last four. (On a digressive note, and it was an afternoon that needed them, Fu is from Hong Kong but spends much of his time in Llanelli, at the snooker club owned by his new mentor, Terry Griffiths, while Ebdon, as English as they come, lives in Asia, or Dubai to be precise). Ebdon took the second with a break of 56. Fu got the third with breaks of 32 and 25.

Ebdon, who has been playing superbly this fortnight, and with a dash of pace now and then to complement his steely concentration, hit 42 and 50 for 2-2, then went ahead with two breaks of 39 in the fifth. Their eighth and final frame lasted 47 minutes, with errors too numerous to count. Fu clawed back from 41 points in arrears to snatch victory on the colours. (Slowly, of course).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot