Masters 2024: Ali Carter opens up early lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan in final…

Venue: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: 7-14 January…

Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button and online; live text coverage of the final on Sunday 14 January.

Ali Carter opened up a 5-3 lead over Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening session of Sunday’s Masters final at Alexandra Palace.

O’Sullivan, 48, who is chasing a record-extending eighth title, and Carter, 44, both made century breaks as they shared the first four frames.

Carter then enjoyed a sublime run of 122 and won two of the next three frames to establish an advantage.

The best-of-19-frames final will resume at 19:00 GMT.

World number one O’Sullivan, who won the UK Championship in December, has never won successive Triple Crown events in the same season but signalled his intent by taking the opener.

However, while a recurring theme of his run to the final has been opponents failing to capitalise on lapses or some over-adventurous shots, Carter appeared to relish his surroundings.

Four years on from a loss to Stuart Bingham in the showpiece match, the world number 10 looked assured against the 40-time ranking event winner, who holds virtually every record in the sport and comfortably won both of their meetings in world finals in 2008 and 2012.

Carter’s century in the fifth frame was his eighth of the tournament and equalled the mark set by O’Sullivan in 2007 and 2009.

He was also able to take the third and sixth frames, in which both players had more than one opportunity among the balls.

The only minor negative for Carter, which was immediately rectified with a run of 74 in the afternoon’s concluding frame, came in the seventh when he was unable to get going having been presented with two decent starting reds before O’Sullivan compiled a break of 86.

Shaun Murphy, 2005 world champion on BBC Two

Can Ronnie O’Sullivan get to 10 frames before Ali Carter does by giving him a two-frame head start? Yes. But he’s in a position he’s not been in before this week.

The most telling statistic this afternoon is that Ali is up at 94% pot success, meanwhile Ronnie is at 89%. That is rare. That gap there, those extra misses he’s thrown in, are the difference.



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