Rusty Hendry reels in Williams

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The Independent Online
The accepted wisdom about Stephen Hendry is that he usually has one bad session. Maximise on that and he is vulnerable, miss out and you will be mown down once the six times world champion gets his eye in.

It is a theory anyway. The problem is that Hendry is so good that even when the pockets look like slits and his cueing action is grating like an un-oiled engine he still gets by. Mark Williams had a glimpse of his exposed flank in the second round of the Embassy World Championship here yesterday but trying to seriously wound the Scot proved beyond him.

Williams, the 16th seed but provisionally the world No 3 for next season, destroyed Hendry 9-2 in the final of the British Open three weeks ago, which was about as encouraging an omen a challenger could have. Hendry at the Plymouth Pavilions is one thing, however; Hendry at the Crucible is another.

Williams led 4-1, but with a small break here and a snooker there, Hendry hauled the score back to 4-4 in the first session. In the evening the 22-year-old Welshman twice made a break for a decisive lead by going 6- 4 and 8-6 ahead, but Hendry managed to hang on to his coat-tails. At 8- 8 the match is perfectly balanced for this afternoon's session.

Ronnie O'Sullivan resumes his second-round match against Darren Morgan today with a two-frame lead. O'Sullivan won the last three frames of yesterday's play to lead 9-7.

However, the 21-year-old did not have it all his own way as Morgan showed the form that took him to the Irish Masters title last season. Indeed, had it not been for a slice of ill fortune at the very end of yesterday's exchanges he might well have finished on level terms. Morgan led 51-0 in the last frame, but O'Sullivan won it 66-56 after potting the last blue with a fluke shot.

O'Sullivan had begun the day 5-3 in arrears, but with breaks of 68, 52 and 46 he sprinted 6-5 clear within 35 minutes of the resumption. A century break by Morgan then levelled the scores at 6-6 and a break of 42 then put him in the lead. However, O'Sullivan raced through the remaining three frames.

Alain Robidoux will resume his match with Stefan Mazrocis today with a 5-3 lead. Mazrocis, from Leicester, led 2-0, but the French Canadian recovered to establish an important advantage.

Alan McManus, looked to have made the breakthrough in his second-round fixture with Lee Walker when he won the first three frames of the morning and was then in prime position to make it 8-4.

Instead he gave away 32 points in penalties and managed to lose a 66- 6 advantage. The final four frames of the session were shared, leaving Walker requiring all but three of the last nine frames.

Results, Digest, page 28

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