David Gilbert holds a 5-3 overnight lead against John Higgins following the opening day of the World Championship semi-finals at the Crucible, while Judd Trump and Gary Wilson are finely poised at four frames each.
The world number 16, who has beaten defending champion Mark Williams and Kyren Wilson on the way to his maiden last-four appearance in Sheffield, appeared a little nervy during the opening stages of his first taste of the one-table set-up.
After Higgins controlled the opening frame of his 10th Crucible semi-final, a missed green to the centre pocket allowed the four-time World champion to double his lead.
However, the 37-year-old finally settled into his rhythm by getting his first frame on the board, before levelling the contest with a neat run of 94.
It then looked like he would clear in frame five after Higgins had been in first with 66. But, another missed green proved costly and allowed his opponent to edge back in front.
Gilbert came roaring back once more, though, and was on course for the Crucible’s first 147 since Stephen Hendry’s 11th and final maximum in 2012.
But, he ran out of position on the 15th black following a terrific double on the final red, and was unsuccessful with his attempt at an ambitious double across the length of the table.
Nevertheless, he built on that momentum by controlling the final two frames of the session to move two clear overnight.
Elsewhere, fellow first-time semi-finalist Wilson is locked with world number seven Trump at four apiece following an intriguing opening eight frames.
Appearing in his third Crucible semi-final, 2011 runner-up Trump was in first before breaking down on 46. Wilson stepped in and appeared on course to take the opening frame.
However, he missed the pink on 61 – allowing his opponent to clear the colours and draw first blood on the black.
Both players also saw chances go begging in the second frame before Wilson took it after Trump missed the final red whilst bridging awkwardly over the pink.
As he has done all tournament, the Tyneside Terror appeared unfazed by the one-table set-up as he produced a magnificent total clearance of 140 – the 84th century of this year’s Championship – but the Ace dominated the fourth frame to level once more.
And there was nothing to separate the players after the interval as the next four frames were shared to leave things finely poised ahead of Friday’s resumption.
World Snooker Championship 2019 Scores
Thursday, May 2
John Higgins 3-5 David Gilbert
Judd Trump 4-4 Gary Wilson