Ronnie O’Sullivan’s bid for a third successive world title hit a setback last night after Joe Perry built an early lead in the pair’s second-round clash at the Crucible.

World number 15 Perry clinched the final frame of the night to develop a 5-3 lead and will resume battle with O’Sullivan today in the final two sessions of the best-of-25 encounter.

The Chigwell potter was expected to fire from the off after dispatching lowest-ranked qualifier Robin Hull with consummate ease in the tournament opener on Saturday.

He immediately found himself on the backfoot against Perry however as he failed to pot a ball in the first frame.

O’Sullivan drew the scores level but went on to lose three consecutive frames, before fighting back to reduce the arrears to one – including a majestic 117 break.

Perry would have the last work of the night however with an effort of 99 to leave the 'Rocket' with work to do today.

Should five-time champion O’Sullivan find his form to beat Perry, he will meet either world number five Shaun Murphy or Marco Fu in the quarter-final stage next Tuesday.

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