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Ronnie O’Sullivan suffers nightmare session in Mark Selby World Snooker Championship semi-final


Mark Selby has taken control of his semi-final with Ronnie O’Sullivan (Picture: REX)

Mark Selby has stormed into the lead in his World Snooker Championship semi-final against Ronnie O’Sullivan moving 9-7 ahead after the second of four sessions.

The Rocket held a 5-3 lead going into the session on Thursday afternoon, but Selby had much the better of the second spell, with four half-centuries, having made none on Wednesday.

Remarkably there have been no centuries over the first 16 frames between two of the best players on the planet, with both still struggling to find their best form.

The slightly scrappy nature of the game in general has certainly suited Selby who now looks in the ascendancy in the race to 17.

‘He’ll be delighted with that session Mark Selby,’ Steve Davis said on the BBC. ‘He’s turned it around, a frustrating session for Ronnie O’Sullivan.’

Ken Doherty added: ‘He’s one of the cleverest players that’s ever played the game.

‘You had Steve Davis, you had John Higgins and now you have Mark Selby, he’s in that ilk of masterclass match players.

‘You can sense the frustration in Ronnie and you can sense Mark Selby growing in confidence, he’s completely dominating play.’

The second session began with O’Sullivan leading 5-3, although things could have been much worse for Selby than that.

The Jester from Leicester had not played well at all on Wednesday and will have been delighted to pinch the last frame of that session to escape with just a two-frame deficit.

There were some scrappy frames in the first session and the second opened with the same, but it was Selby who got over the line to win the first of Thursday afternoon.

Finally the man from Leicester found some fluency in the next, making a fantastic 97, his first half-century of the contest, to level things up at 5-5.

Things were very much going his way now, with O’Sullivan the victim of a dreadful kick in the 11th frame, which Selby went on to claim and then another half-century (58) saw Mark win five on the spin and take a 7-5 lead.

It looked like both men had found their range and touch by this point as the next three frames saw an 87 from O’Sullivan, 62 from Selby and an 82 from the Rocket as the three frames went with those big breaks and Mark lead 8-7.

In the final frame of the session the frustration that had been building in the Rocket was clear for all to see as he missed a difficult pink and punched the table hard, the noise echoing round the empty Crucible.

Selby pounced, making 76 to take the 9-7 lead into the third session and he gave a hearty fist bump to the empty arena.

MORE: Ronnie O’Sullivan disappointed and Mark Selby relieved after opening semi-final session

MORE: Mark Selby: I’ve cost Ronnie O’Sullivan the World Snooker Championship record

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