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By Ben Parsons at the Crucible
Ronnie O’Sullivan stole a dramatic final frame on a re-spotted black to open up a 10-6 lead over John Higgins in their enthralling World Championship semi-final showdown.
O’Sullivan, bidding to equal Stephen Hendry’s record of seven Crucible crowns, won five consecutive frames to gain a solid advantage over four-time champion Higgins in the marathon race to 17.
The legendary Class of 92 duo shared the first mid-session as the scores remained level at 6-6, despite Higgins being unable to better his previous highest break of 58.
On-song O’Sullivan then reeled off three frames in style with runs of 99, 90 and 70 and Higgins was left with no answer.
But it was the final frame of the session that will prove most satisfying for the Rocket as he remains firmly on course for a magnificent seven.
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) April 29, 2022
Gutsy Higgins looked destined to reduce the deficit to 9-7 as he dug deep without his best form.
But with the frame at the Scottish great's mercy, Higgins missed a black off its spot that would have left O’Sullivan requiring two snookers.
The opportunistic O’Sullivan stepped in with a stunning clearance, including two positional shots that will prove shot-of-the-tournament contenders under ultimate pressure.
After forcing a re-spotted black, the Rocket capitalised on Higgins missing a long-range pot and held his nerve to seal the dramatic final frame of the session.
O’Sullivan rode the wave of the electric atmosphere in the iconic Crucible cauldron and now has the momentum over his old rival, seven frames from the final.
O’Sullivan and Higgins will resume on Saturday morning and play to a finish in the following evening session.
Meanwhile, fellow Class of 92 member Mark Williams trails Judd Trump 11-5 in the other semi-final.
The left-handed pair shared their second session 4-4 after 2019 champion Trump made huge inroads by taking a 7-1 advantage.
Trump is hitting his best form just at the right time after battling through the first three rounds, and is six frames from an unmissable final against O’Sullivan or Higgins.
Williams and Trump resume on Friday evening and are set to play to a finish on Saturday afternoon.