Ronnie O’Sullivan leads in-form Kyren Wilson 5-4 following the opening session of their best-of-19 Shanghai Masters semi-final.
‘The Rocket’ is playing in his first tournament of the new season as he seeks to defend the title he won 12 months ago, crushing Judd Trump 10-3 in the final.
Wilson is looking to complete a hat-trick of tournament wins, having won the Paul Hunter Classic in Germany and the Six Red World Championship in Bangkok. It was the Kettering potter who settled fastest, opening up a 2-0 early lead. O’Sullivan looked set to get his first frame on the board in frame three before missing and allowing Wilson back into the frame. A safety lapse from Wilson would then allow O’Sullivan pot blue and pink to win the frame.
The five-time world champion appeared unhappy with the table, ensuring the mid-session interval was taken a frame early as officials sought to remedy playing conditions. It seemed to work, O’Sullivan winning the next three frames, including a 135 clearance, to assume a 4-2 advantage. To his credit, last season’s Dafabet Masters runner-up steadied the ship and levelled the match at 4-4.
It was O’Sullivan that had the first chance to take the final frame of the session but he faltered and Wilson was in pole position after some clever pots until he inexplicably missed a straightforward black, leaving his opponent a simple chance to mop up and take a one-frame lead into their second session in Shanghai.
O’Sullivan is 1.25 to win, with Wilson now 3.80. ‘The Rocket’ is 5.50 to emerge victorious 10-6. The winner will face either Ding Junhui or Barry Hawkins in Sunday’s final.