Luca Brecel leads Shaun Murphy 5-4 after the first session of their Evergrande China Championship final clash in Guangzhou.
Belgium’s 22-year-old Brecel is seeking his first ranking title and is on course for the £150,000 top prize after coming from 3-1 down to win four of the next five frames. First to ten in the concluding session, which starts at 7.30pm local time (12.30pm BST), will take the trophy.
Murphy eased into a 2-0 lead with breaks of 55 and 68 then Brecel pulled one back with a 64. A run of 107 from Murphy, aiming for his eighth ranking title, put him 3-1 up.
The contest turned scrappier after the interval, with both players making errors. Frame five came down to the final black and Brecel slotted in an excellent long pot to halve his deficit, and he added the sixth to level at 3-3.
Murphy made a 53 in frame seven, but Brecel clawed his way back with a 37, then trapped his opponent in a tough snooker on the last red, which created the chance to secure the frame and go ahead for the first time. Growing in confidence, Brecel fired a break of 78 to lead 5-3.
The last frame of the session took 37 minutes and came down to the colours. A poor safety from Murphy on the brown gave Brecel a chance to clear, but after taking brown and blue he missed the pink to a top corner. A relieved Murphy potted pink and black to narrow the gap to just one frame.