Shaun Murphy took control of his International Championship semi-final with defending champion Mark Allen by establishing a 6-2 advantage after the first session in Daqing.
They will play the best of 17 match to a conclusion in this evening’s session, with the winner going on to face Judd Trump in the final for the £175,000 top prize.
This afternoon’s opening exchanges threw the form book out the window in terms of how the players have fared this week.
2018 Masters winner Allen came in to this match having won 30 of the 38 frames he has contested in the event. By contrast 2005 World Champion Murphy has had his metal under pressure tested with two deciding frames and two 6-4 wins.
Despite that Englishman Murphy, who is celebrating his 37th birthday today, stormed out of the blocks to pull clear of his opponent. Breaks of 92, 76, 84, 54 and 88 helped him to establish a 6-0 advantage.
However, Northern Ireland’s Allen showed great resiliency in the final two frames of the session to keep his chances alive. A break of 66 saw him snatch the seventh, before a sublime run of 117 saw him take the final frame to end four behind at 6-2.