Perry resists O’Sullivan’s fightback to stay ahead

Ronnie O'Sullivan during his match against Joe Perry.
Ronnie O'Sullivan during his match against Joe Perry.
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Ronnie O’Sullivan was second best to Joe Perry in the opening session of their Dafabet World Championship second round match in Sheffield.

The 38-year-old five-time world champion trailed 4-1, before reducing the deficit to 5-3 in this best-of-25 frame clash.

Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Ronnie O'Sullivan.

Perry was quick out of the blocks, taking the opening frame.

O’Sullivan levelled but his Wisbech opponent took the next two frames to go in at the mid-session interval 3-1 up. O’Sullivan was in trouble when he lost the fifth frame.

However, he produced a 116 clearance to reduce the deficit to two frames.

The defending champion appeared to be finding fluency when he followed up with a decisive 75 to move to within a single frame of Perry.

But a break of 99 from Perry checked O’Sullivan’s progress and gave the 39-year-old the edge at 5-3 for when the match resumes this afternoon at the Crucible.

The other second-round match started yesterday saw Mark Selby establish a lead over Ali Carter, with the margin again 5-3.

Twice beaten finalist Carter took the opener with a clinical 102 break, before Selby responded with a 38 and 84 in the second, then took the third after emerging from a safety battle.

Selby won the next two frames and with a 5-1 advantage looked set for a healthy lead.

However, Carter dug in with a 44 after Selby had spurned the first chance and then, after Selby failed to make the most of a fluke, rattled in his second century of the afternoon.

Earlier, 2010 champion Neil Robertson posted the tournament’s highest break as he wrapped up a 10-2 victory in his first-round match against Robbie Williams.

The Australian left-hander and world No 1, who held a 7-2 overnight lead, did not take long to wrap up victory, following a clearance of 140 with a knock of 102 as he sealed a meeting with Mark Allen.

Dominic Dale secured a first win at the Crucible since 2000 in the remaining first-round tie, turning an overnight 7-2 advantage over Mark Davis into a 10-5 success. He will face Michael Wasley, ranked 73 in the world, in the second round.