Mark Selby will take a 10-7 lead into the second day of the Betfred World Championship final against Ding Junhui.
An absorbing first day of the Crucible final saw Selby 6-0 up, then hauled back to 8-7, then snatching the last two frames to give himself a useful cushion.
World number one Selby, the 2014 champion, is aiming to become the sixth player to lift the trophy more than once at the Crucible. Ding is the first Asian player competing in the final and hopes to delight his hundreds of millions of fans in China by taking the title and £330,000 top prize.
Selby led 6-2 after the first session and won then opening frame tonight with a break of 34 after Ding had missed a red to a centre pocket. The Englishman looked favourite in the next until his mis-cued on a red at 30-0 and that proved a turning point. Ding punished him with a 76 clearance then made a 103 to close to 7-4.
Selby led 49-4 in the next but Ding got the better of a safety battle then made a superb 89 clearance. Selby won frame 13 with 30 and 34 before Ding’s 86 saw him close to 8-6. The next frame lasted 67 minutes as Ding made a 55 to lead 71-0 but Selby clawed his way back and battled for snookers on the colours, only for his opponent to eventually pot the blue.
In the 16th, Selby built a 61-0 lead then finished it off after Ding’s miss on pink to centre ended his hopes of a counter-attack. The last frame of the session took 49 minutes and this time it was Ding trying to gain snookers on the colours as the clock ticked past midnight. Selby ended it by potting the green, raising his arms in celebration and relief.
They resume at 2pm for eight more frames. First to 18 on Monday night takes the crown.