Ronnie O’Sullivan took command of his much-anticipated second round clash against Shaun Murphy at the Betfred World Championship, building a 6-2 lead.
Rarely in Crucible history have two of snooker’s biggest guns met at such an early stage, but so far it’s a one sided battle with five-time champion O’Sullivan in control.
World number 12 O’Sullivan lost 13-12 to Barry Hawkins at this stage last year but is now on course to reach his 18th Sheffield quarter-final.
A break of 91 gave the Rocket the opening frame before Murphy levelled with a run of 84. O’Sullivan then raced ahead by winning four frames in 53 minutes, firing breaks of 75, 128, 76 and 44.
Both players had chances in frame seven and it came down to the colours. With the scores at 57-57, Murphy twice missed the pink, then O’Sullivan potted the pink but over-cut a tough black to a top corner. After a brief safety exchange, 2005 champion Murphy potted a mid-range black to gain a vital foothold in the contest.
But it was O’Sullivan who finished the session in the ascendancy as a quickfire run of 74 left him four frames ahead overnight and seven away from a place in the last eight against Ding Junhui or Liang Wenbo.
They resume at 2.30pm on Friday.
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