Snooker: Referee warns O'Sullivan after audible obscenity

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The Independent Online

Graeme Dott is within three frames of a place in the World Championship semi-finals, having built a 10-6 lead over Australia's Neil Robertson at the Crucible last night. That took place after a day in which Ronnie O'Sullivan was warned for swearing and title-holder Shaun Murphy suffered a nightmare.

Dott, runner-up in 2004, won each of the first two sessions by a 5-3 margin. Before the questions of O'Sullivan or Murphy possibly winning the crown again are resolved today, the Scotsman could be through for he resumes within sight of the 13 frames required.

O'Sullivan ended his first session level at 4-4 with Mark Williams. After the opening two frames had been shared, a poor positional shot prompted an audible obscenity from the world No 1, earning him snooker's equivalent of the yellow card from referee Jan Verhaas. He trailed 4-2 when Williams knocked his head on the table in despair as he ran out of position and O'Sullivan took full advantage. Breaks of 45 and 79 ensured the 30-year-old from Essex was all square going into today's session.

On the other table, Murphy found himself 7-1 down to Peter Ebdon in a repeat of last year's semi-final.

The South Yorkshire crowd was left stunned as Murphy simply never got going until the last frame of the session when he made a decisive 64.

There was disappointment for Ebdon, however, as he missed the chance of a maximum 147 break in frame seven.

Ken Doherty took five consecutive frames to turn a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead over Marco Fu last night, but the Hong Kong player fought back to 8-8.

The sort of form the Irishman had produced to knock out Matthew Stevens was in evidence again before Fu made his second century of the match, a 110, to ensure parity ahead of today's conclusion.

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