Carter takes O'Sullivan route

Ali Carter emulated Ronnie O’Sullivan by completing a pre-interval whitewash to move ahead of Joe Perry in their 888.com World Championship semi-final at the Crucible Theatre.

O’Sullivan had produced a masterclass earlier in the day in winning all eight frames against Stephen Hendry to open up a 12-4 lead.

And Carter edged into a 7-5 lead after taking the first four frames of his second session with Perry in the best-of-33 encounter.

Perry had taken advantage of a below-par performance in a tense opening session from Carter, who would have been relatively happy to be trailing only 5-3 overnight.

But it was a different story when the match recommenced, with Carter looking the more impressive of two players who were both appearing in their first Crucible semi-final.

A break of 41 put Carter in command of the opening frame before he ran out of position and Perry had the chance to snatch it but missed the final red into the middle pocket.

Perry paid the penalty in the next for missing a black off its spot after a 57 break but Carter broke down on 51 when failing to pot a similarly-straightforward pink.

A superb final pink into the yellow pocket enabled Carter to pinch the frame and draw level – and he then forged ahead for the first time with runs of 38 and 56 in frame 11.

In the final frame before the break, Perry played safe off the pack but a red sprung out over the black pocket and Carter needed no second invitation as he compiled a superb 106 – the first century break of the match.

The winner of this match looked certain to face O’Sullivan after he inflicted Hendry’s first session whitewash of his Crucible career.

Seven-time champion Hendry had handed out similar punishment during his distinguished career at snooker’s premier tournament to Terry Griffiths (1992), Jimmy White (1992) and Danny Fowler (1993).

But this was the first time he had been on the receiving end of the same treatment as O’Sullivan set up a chance to win with a session to spare if he took five of tonight’s eight frames.

O’Sullivan at one stage scored 448 points without reply and compiled two centuries and five other 50-plus breaks.

It was hard to believe Hendry led 4-1 at one stage as he lost 11 frames on the trot to his inspired opponent.

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