Shaun Murphy will take a 6-3 advantage into the concluding evening session of his Shanghai Masters semi-final with Mark Allen.
The pair also met in the last four at the recent International Championship in Daqing, where Murphy was a 9-6 victor. He finished runner-up to Judd Trump.
They will play the best of 19 match to a conclusion tonight, with the winner progressing to contest Sunday’s final against Neil Robertson or Ronnie O’Sullivan where a top prize of £200,000 will be up for grabs.
The first two frames this afternoon were shared, before breaks of 88 and 82 saw Murphy establish a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval.
When they returned they traded breaks of 74 to progress the scoreline to 4-2. A contribution of 55 saw Allen steal the seventh on the colours. However, 2018 Masters champion Allen then crucially spurned an opportunity to level by missing a green. Triple Crown winner Murphy punished that error by clearing with 25 to move 5-3 ahead.
The Magician consolidated his lead with a run of 58 in the last frame of the session.