Ding Junhui won six out of eight frames in his second session against John Higgins to take a 9-7 lead in their last 16 clash.
China’s Ding trailed 5-1 at one stage in the opening session, and 5-3 overnight, but has grown in stature as the match has progressed and now needs just four more frames to reach the quarter-finals at the Crucible for only the third time.
Ding won the first two frames today with top breaks of 49 and 80 to draw level at 5-5. Four-time champion Higgins responded with 55 and 68 to lead 7-5 at the interval.
Sheffield-based Ding, who has won 11 ranking titles but never been to the world final, seized the initiative with runs of 66, 64 and 92 to lead 8-7. Scotland’s Higgins looked set to level until he broke down on 57 in the last of the session, and Ding made a brilliant 59 clearance to go two frames ahead. They play to a finish tomorrow at 10am.
Mark Allen built a 5-3 lead over Barry Hawkins in the opening session of their second round encounter (Tom Hiscott writes).
Allen, the world number 12, raced into a 2-0 lead following breaks of 63 and 65, only for Hawkins to draw level with runs of 76 and 51.
The next two frames were shared to leave the score at 3-3, then Northern Irishman Allen fired in a break of 96 to regain the lead. And he got the better of a scrappy eighth frame to secure an overnight advantage. The match resumes at 10am tomorrow.