Some untimely misses from Mark Selby handed Ronnie O’Sullivan the momentum in their quarter-final tie at the UK Championship.
Selby played his way back from the brink of defeat and into a winning position in the fifth frame, only to miss a simple blue and go 4-1 down, and then surrendered control of the eighth frame with a miss on the final brown, leaving him trailing 6-2 at the interval.
O’Sullivan, appearing calm at the table, had taken routine wins in the opening two frames before Selby finally got rolling to take the third 108-1.
But O’Sullivan had a break of 104 to win the fourth without reply.
The match then turned in the fifth set when Selby forced a pair of errors from O’Sullivan to get back into the frame, with O’Sullivan missing a brown and handing Selby a free shot, with which he sank the black.
But with the frame there for the taking, he missed a routine blue on the next shot and O’Sullivan cleaned up.
Selby recovered to take the sixth, but a break of 94 handed O’Sullivan the seventh.
Needing a win to stay in touch, Selby watched O’Sullivan make a break of 43 in the final frame of the session, but an error on a red handed him his chance and he looked confident of taking it.
However, he misplayed the brown and O’Sullivan potted the final three colours to take the frame.
John Higgins also held a 6-2 lead over Liang Wenbo in today’s other quarter-final, but appeared to be in far more dominant form.
He raced into a 5-0 lead, with breaks of 90 and 110 in the opening three frames. He had been on course for a 147 until being forced to settle for a blue on 104 in the third.
Liang took two of the final three frames as he finally found some rhythm, but the Chinese player faced a long road back in this match.