The first session of the Tour Championship 2019 final was played yesterday evening and it was a good session. Neil had the better start et went to lead 2-0, despite the fact that Ronnie had a 100% long pot success at that stage and had been in first in both frames. Ronnie then won five frames on the trot, aided by some excellent safeties, very clever and creative break building when in the balls when faced with an unpromising table, and a remarkable clearance to steal frame seven. Neil Robertson took the last. At that stage, my feeling was that Ronnie’s concentration had just dropped a little bit, which would be understandable given the level he had sustained over the last five frames, but all credits to Neil who had been shut out for a long time and had just lost the previous frame that he probably should have won.
So Ronnie goes into the second session this afternoon with a two-frame advantage, which is good but in no way decisive in such a long match.
Ronnie O’Sullivan leads Neil Robertson 5-3 after the opening session of their Coral Tour Championship final in Llandudno.
The pair are contesting their second consecutive Coral Series final. They faced each other at the Coral Players Championship in Preston, where O’Sullivan came out on top. Whoever claims victory tomorrow will take home the Coral Cup, which is awarded to whoever earns the most prize money across the three Coral Series events.
The best of 25 encounter will be concluded over two sessions tomorrow, with the winner receiving a top prize of £150,000.
If O’Sullivan can convert his advantage tomorrow, he will equal Stephen Hendry’s record of 36 ranking event wins. While Robertson, who has 15 ranking titles to his name, can move clear of Mark Selby and go sixth alone in the all-time ranking event winner’s list with victory.
It was Robertson who made the fastest start this evening, claiming the opening two frames to secure an early 2-0 lead. O’Sullivan immediately responded with breaks of 74 and 97 to level things at the mid-session.
When they came back out five-time World Champion O’Sullivan moved further ahead with runs of 71 and 67 to make it 5-2 with five frames in a row. However, a crucial run of 48 helped Robertson to take the final frame of the evening and stay in touch at 5-3. They will return tomorrow afternoon at 1pm.