Judd Trump found some positive form after the interval to share the opening session of his second-round encounter with Anthony McGill at the World Championship.
Trump looked all at sea early in the contest, as he was dragged into the weeds by the dogged play of McGill who played to his strengths to work an advantage.
But Trump improved out of all recognition after the break to win three of the four frames to ensure the match will resume on Sunday all square at 4-4.
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A scrappy opener went McGill’s way, and the second followed a similar pattern to the first.
Trump crafted one of the best breaks of 14 of the season, as he knocked in impressive pots without ever finding position.
It boiled down to a battle on the colours, and the 42-minute frame looked set to go McGill’s way when he knocked in a brilliant, long brown. But his face turned to thunder when the white screwed back and dropped into the right middle. It allowed Trump to knock in brown, blue and pink to level the match.
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Trump said in the lead up to the Crucible that he had not been enjoying his snooker. There’s no way he would have enjoyed the early grind against McGill. The opening three frames averaged 33 minutes, and he lost the third after a series of misses from both players - with McGill eventually getting over the line.
The fourth frame saw Trump knock in a brilliant long red, only to be stopped in his tracks by cannoning the black and sending it into the bottom left. It did not prove a fatal error, but he missed a red a short while later and McGill stepped in with a classy 129 to take a 3-1 lead at the first interval.
Dominic Dale on Eurosport commentary urged Trump to go to the practice table at the interval. If that is what he did, it paid off as he emerged from the break with his most fluent piece of play of the match - as he won the fifth frame with a break of 103.
The sixth turned scrappy, but pivoted Trump’s way with a wonderful double on the final red. He cleared to the pink to level the match, and returned to his seat with a spring in his step.
Trump is a huge fan of darts, and he showed his doubling prowess for the second time in under 10 minutes to get up and running in the seventh frame. After looking out of sorts for four frames, he suddenly looked much more confident and composed - and it was only running out of position on 32 that halted him in the seventh. He got in again one shot later following a good snooker and did enough to work a lead for the first time in the match.
McGill is an unflappable character, and he responded to Trump’s three-frame burst to take the final one of the session.
He got in twice, only to run out of position when splitting the pack on both occasions. However, he got back in and at the third time of asking he did enough to get over the line and leave the contest well poised with two sessions to play.
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