By Mark Staniforth, PA
Ronnie O’Sullivan’s quest for a record-equalling seventh Crucible title was under threat as Judd Trump won six of the eight frames of the penultimate session of the final to reduce the deficit to 14-11.
O’Sullivan resorted to using a cigarette lighter to try to tidy up his troublesome tip in the last frame of the afternoon, by which point the prospect of Trump becoming only the fourth player to lose a world final with a session to spare had long disappeared.
Trump started and finished the session with centuries as he pounced on a series of misses by his opponent in a passage of play that made up in tension what it lacked in quality, cueing up the possibility of the biggest final comeback since Dennis Taylor hauled back an eight-frame deficit in 1985.
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Trump won the first three frames of the afternoon as O’Sullivan struggled to get started, running out of position in the opener then missing a simple straight red in the next to hand his opponent the initiative.
It was Trump’s turn to miss an ambitious plant in the next, running aground on a break of 45, and O’Sullivan’s clearance to pink put him 13-8 in front and back in command.
Errors blighted both players’ progress in the next, Trump under-hitting a straight black and O’Sullivan responding by firing a red well wide, before Trump got over the line to make it 13-9.
And in a pivotal 23rd frame, it was O’Sullivan who made the most costly of a series of blunders when he rolled a red into the jaws, allowing Trump to stage a nerve-jangling clearance to pink to move within three frames.
O’Sullivan eased the pressure when he capitalised on a missed black by Trump to take the next, but a superb 105 by Trump – which also tied the record for the total number of centuries in a single World Championship at 108 – left it with all to play for heading into Monday evening’s conclusion.