World number one Judd Trump leads World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-3 heading into the evening session of their Matchroom.Live Northern Ireland Open final.
They will return at 7pm to play the best of 17 tie to a conclusion, with the winner pocketing a top prize of £70,000 and the Alex Higgins Trophy.
Incredibly, this is the third consecutive year Trump and O’Sullivan have contested the Northern Ireland Open final. It’s the first time that has happened in a specific ranking event since the 1994 World Championship, when Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White contested their third straight final.
Trump, having won the previous two finals 9-7, is aiming to make his own piece of history this evening by becoming the first player to win a specific ranking title three years in row since Hendry at the 1996 UK Championship.
The opening stages were unexpectedly cagey from both players, but it was Trump who managed to establish a 3-1 advantage at the mid-session after just under 90 minutes of play.
The pair traded frames upon the resumption, before Trump fired in a superb break of 128 to lead 5-2 after the first century of the match. That seemed to kick O’Sullivan into gear, who duly responded with a run of 130 to leave the tie hanging in the balance at 5-3.