O'Sullivan takes early control

Red-hot favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan seized the early initiative by winning three of the opening four frames in the 888.com World Championship final with Ali Carter at the Crucible Theatre.

O’Sullivan was tipped to win his third world crown at odds of 1-8 while Carter was rated at 5-1 to lift snooker’s most coveted prize for the first time, 12 years since turning professional.

The Rocket’s vanquished semi-final opponent Stephen Hendry claimed O’Sullivan produced “snooker perfection” when overwhelming him 17-6 with a session to spare.

Carter has endured a gruelling fortnight which culminated in him reaching his first ranking final via a 17-15 success over Joe Perry last night but he insisted he would not run out of steam.

He also claimed to have the support of “two little angels on my shoulder” – a reference to his two grandmothers who recently died – snooker fans Daphne and Betty.

And Carter only had himself to blame for not winning the opening frame of the best of 35 marathon spread over two days.

The 28-year-old from Tiptree broke down on 24 when he jumped the cue ball over a red he was attempting to pot into the black pocket.

Then after another run of 32 he was unfortunate when knocking in a blue to also send a red down.

O’Sullivan, 32, made a run of 38 before playing safe and then a superb last long red paved the way for him to make a 30 clearance and open his account.

The next was more straightforward with O’Sullivan knocking in 39 and 88 to double his lead.

Then Carter failed to convert a long red in the third frame and O’Sullivan needed no second invitation with a 99 break.

But Carter managed to stop the pre-interval whitewash when O’Sullivan was untypically wayward with a long pot on the red and Carter made it pay with a 104 - the 62nd century of the tournament.

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