World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan established a 6-3 lead over Judd Trump following the first session of the Cazoo Champion of Champions final in Bolton.
The last time the pair met was in the World Championship final earlier this year in Sheffield. O’Sullivan emerged victorious on that occasion, notching up a historic and record equalling seventh Crucible crown thanks to an 18-13 win. However, there is nothing to split them in their head-to-head record, with the pair dead level at 13-13.
O’Sullivan is aiming to capture the Champion of Champions title for the fourth time in his career. Defending champion Trump is aiming for a second, after beating John Higgins in the title match 12 months ago to claim his first.
An electric start from 39-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan saw him take the first two frames with breaks of 96 and 103 to gain a stranglehold on proceedings. A nervy third swung one way then the other. Trump spurned his first opportunity by missing a straightforward pink to the middle, but an unexpected missed red to the top left from O’Sullivan on 52 allowed his opponent to steal with 51 to make it 2-1.
From there the Rocket went into cruise control, making breaks of 52 and 88 on his way to a run of four consecutive frames which earned an imposing 6-1 lead.
However, 23-time ranking event winner Trump refused to back down and a moment of magic reignited the contest. He fired in the seventh 147 break of his career in the eighth frame to make it 6-2. The Ace in the Pack followed that up with 96 to take the last of the afternoon to end 6-3 behind.
The pair return at 7pm to play the best of 19 frame encounter to a conclusion. The winner takes home a top prize of £150,000.