Snooker: O'Sullivan pegged back against Carter

Ronnie O'Sullivan took a narrow 5-3 lead against Ali Carter as the defending champion was pegged back following a fast start to their World Championship second round clash on Saturday.

When O'Sullivan fired in a break of 125 to lead 5-1, it seemed that Carter's terrible record against the former world number one was certain to continue.

But Carter took the final two frames of the session to stay in the hunt heading into the second session on Sunday.

O'Sullivan has not lost to Carter in their 12 previous meetings at major tournaments and despite having been absent from the tour for almost a year before this event, he started as a firm favourite again.

It seemed ominous when early breaks of 78 and 66 powered O'Sullivan into a 3-0 lead, although Carter took the next to go to the interval on a positive note.

Carter, 33, who lost heavily to O'Sullivan in the 2008 World Championship final and also in last year's title showpiece, needed to show fight but his safety play had been poor and that was proving costly.

When the gap widened to four, Carter required a sharp response and found it in the form of an 82 break in frame seven and 51 in the last of the day.

In the afternoon's other second round match at the Crucible, England's Barry Hawkins came from behind to beat compatriot Mark Selby 13-10 after winning the final four frames.