Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan and Shaun Murphy are tied at 4-4 after an enthralling first session in the UK Championship final in York.
The first four frames were shared and included a century each.
It turned into a tactical battle as O’Sullivan pinched the next two frames, but Murphy took advantage of his opponent’s mistakes to draw level.
The final session resumes at 19:00 GMT, with the first to 10 claiming the £170,000 winner’s prize money.
O’Sullivan, 42, is aiming to equal Steve Davis’ record of six UK titles and also looking to draw level with Stephen Hendry’s 18 ‘Triple Crown’ triumphs in the World, UK and Masters events.
Murphy, who landed this title in 2008, is seeking to beat O’Sullivan in a major final for the second time in four weeks, following his success at the Champion of Champions event in November.
Leading 2-1, O’Sullivan had reached 62 in the fourth frame but found himself in a snooker with two reds remaining and hit the black, allowing Murphy to capitalise with 39 to level at 2-2.
O’Sullivan opened up a two-frame advantage by punishing his opponent’s loose safety play, but he broke down in the next two frames when well set, allowing 35-year-old Murphy to clear up with scores of 69 and 52.
What they said – BBC pundits
Six-time UK champion Steve Davis: “A fascinating end to the session. You saw the frustration in Ronnie. It felt like when he missed that simple black, he became a bit out of control.”
Five-time UK winner Stephen Hendry: “What a session of snooker this has been. It has had absolutely everything.”
1991 UK champion John Parrott: “It’s not always about the massive breaks. It is about digging in and scoring a 50-odd when you really need it.”
R O’Sullivan (Eng) 4-4 S Murphy (Eng)
Highest breaks: O’Sullivan 103; Murphy 123
First session: 0-124 (123), 83-39 (62), 108-9 (103), 62-76 (O’Sullivan 62), 72-18, 57-48, 27-70 (69), 60-57 (O’Sullivan 52, Murphy 52)
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