Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Higgins are finely poised at 4-4 following a pulsating opening session of their World Championship semi-final showdown on Thursday.
The two greats shared the first eight frames of their mouth-watering best-of-33 clash, with O’Sullivan recovering from 3-0 down to ensure that proceedings were level overnight.
This was the third meeting between the players in the one-table setup at the Crucible – and first since the Rocket prevailed 18-14 in the 2001 final to claim his maiden World crown.
Appearing in his 11th semi-final, Higgins took a scrappy opening frame on the pink. He then recovered from 46-19 down with a neat 50 doubling his lead on the blue, while a run of 58 in the next proved enough to put him 3-0 to the good.
The Rocket was yet to fire, but stopped the rot with a timely 70 to get his first frame on the board. He further capitalised on his opponent’s mistakes with contributions of 54 and 116 levelling the contest.
O’Sullivan – appearing in his record-breaking 13th Crucible semi – looked set to complete the turnaround as he opened frame seven with 55, but Higgins produced a trademark clearance to regain the lead on the pink.
Nevertheless, the six-time World champion closed the session in style with a wonderful 107 clearance squaring things again at 4-4.
Earlier on Thursday, it was very much one-way traffic as Judd Trump establishing a commanding 7-1 lead over a fatigued Mark Williams.
Back in the semi-finals for the first time since his 2019 triumph, the Ace took the opening frame on the brown before two runs of 70 moved him 3-0 ahead.
Three-time champion Williams stopped the rot, but the exertions of his hard-fought quarter-final victory over Yan Bingtao were evident as his trademark potting deserted him.
Trump, who won eight successive frames from 8-5 down to deny Stuart Bingham in the quarters, certainly capitalised. Runs of 54, 62 and 53 gave him a healthy overnight advantage.
World Snooker Championship 2022 Scores
Thursday April 28
Judd Trump 7-1 Mark Williams
Ronnie O’Sullivan 4-4 John Higgins