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O'Sullivan, Murphy all square in UK final

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London (AFP)

Ronnie O'Sullivan was unable to hold onto his early lead in the UK Championship final as Shaun Murphy hit back to end the first session level at 4-4 on Sunday.

O'Sullivan had eased into a 4-2 lead at the York Barbican, but his old rival snatched the last two frames of the afternoon to set up a tense finish to the best-of-19-frame title match.

For years, O'Sullivan and Murphy have had a strained relationship, with sniping from both sides.

With silverware and a £170,000 top prize at stake, it could be an explosive finish as O'Sullivan chases a record-equalling sixth UK title.

Victory would take O'Sullivan level with Steve Davis' haul of six UK Championship triumphs.

It would also put him alongside Stephen Hendry on 18 Triple Crown titles, following O'Sullivan's five World Championship wins and seven Masters triumphs.

For Murphy, who landed this title in 2008, there was the opportunity to beat O'Sullivan in a major final for the second time in four weeks, following his success at the Champion of Champions event in November.

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