Shaun Murphy has emerged with a slender 5-4 advantage after a superb afternoon session at the Evergrande China Championship final against Mark Williams in Guangzhou.
The 2005 World Champion is competing in his third consecutive final, but is still searching for a first title of the season after previous losses to Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan at the International Championship and Shanghai Masters respectively.
44-year-old Williams is aiming to become the oldest winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy won the 1989 Classic at the age of 46.
The pair will return to play the best of 19 frame match to a conclusion at 12:30 UK time, with the winner picking up £150,000.
Murphy claimed the opening two frames today, stealing the second on the final black to secure an early 2-0 cushion. However, three-time World Champion Williams forced himself back to parity with breaks of 73 and 70 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.
They traded frames when they returned, before a sublime break of 143 saw Williams take to the front at 4-3. Murphy was undeterred and compiled runs of 64 and 133 to claim the last two frames and secure his 5-4 lead.