Ronnie O’Sullivan won the opening session of his semi-final 5-3, although neither he or Matthew Stevens will have been pleased with their performance following a session full of sloppy errors.
It was a nervy opening frame, with both players unable to find a good rhythm. Stevens appeared to have it won with a break of 41 but O’Sullivan capitalised on Stevens missing a red and took the frame with a break of 27.
In the second frame, it was the reverse as O’Sullivan seemed to have the frame following a break of 52. But Stevens managed to claim the snookers he required, yet O’Sullivan clung on as he clinched the frame on the yellow.
With a two frame lead, O’Sullivan powered on and a break of 66 was enough to seal the third frame and take a 3-0 lead.
Stevens needed to win the fourth to avoid an uncomfortable early deficit, but O’Sullivan secured a break of 49 to take a strong lead into the mid-session interval.
In the first frame after the break, O’Sullivan was guilty of missing several easy balls as Stevens surged ahead. However, O’Sullivan showed the character that has got him this far in the tournament and fought his way back into the frame.
However, Stevens forced O’Sullivan to miss a green and took his first frame of the match by clearing up the colours.
And Stevens began to show signs of gradual improvement as a break of 48 in frame six was enough to secure the frame for Stevens as he halved O’Sullivans lead.
The seventh frame followed the scrappy pattern of the match as both players missed easy pots and spurned chances when in amongst the balls.
However, O’Sullivan ensured he did enough to win the frame by completing a break of 42 to take a 5-2 lead into the final frame of the session.
The final frame of the night was littered with early errors, including a rare missed black off the spot by O’Sullivan.
However, Stevens seized his opportunity to compile his highest break of the evening, scoring 80 to reduce the score line to 5-3.
The pair will resume tomorrow afternoon with the match due to be completed on Saturday.