Snooker: Trump pulls level against O'Sullivan

Ronnie O'Sullivan squandered an early lead in his World Championship semi-final against Judd Trump as the defending champion was pegged back to 4-4 after Thursday's first session.

O'Sullivan raced into a 4-1 lead at the Crucible, but the four-time champion didn't press home his advantage and Trump hit back to set the stage for an absorbing contest when the match resumes on Friday.

O'Sullivan has claimed this week that he will retire from snooker in the near future and is only appearing at the world championships to pay for his children's school fees.

It is not the first time the 37-year-old English star has made such claims, but if he does finally walk away from the sport, the entertaining Trump is regarded as the natural heir to O'Sullivan.

O'Sullivan fired in breaks of 65, 75 and 89 on his way to the three-frame cushion, and looked a strong favourite to secure the 17 frames required for a place in the final.

But 23-year-old Trump, who said prior to the match that he would not be scared of O'Sullivan, proved good to his word as he fought back.

He seemed down and out in frame seven when O'Sullivan built a handsome lead after a break of 56, which was most noteworthy for the sublime shot that kept it going on 36.

Faced with a difficult positional shot on the pink, with the reds awkward, he screwed the cue ball off the colour and swung it around three cushions and into a cluster of four reds on the top cushion. It elicited a handy split, but O'Sullivan could not convert the break into a frame-winning clearance.

Trump got back to the table with an outstanding long penultimate red, laid a smart snooker behind the green and forced a seven-point foul. Trump drilled a red to the middle pocket and made it count by clearing to the pink for 26 to snatch the frame.

Buoyed by that, Trump fired a 72 break in the final frame of the session to end on a high.

The second semi-final starts later Thursday with Ricky Walden facing fellow Englishman Barry Hawkins.