Stephen Hendry found the going tough against fellow Scot Drew Henry today as he struggled to gain a narrow lead ahead of tonight’s final session to their Embassy World Championship second round match.
The seven times champion was forced to share the eight-frame penultimate session and will resume this evening with a 9-7 advantage.
But Hendry’s frustration at again playing below par was evident in the last frame of the session.
Henry, who defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan en route to the last four of this season’s UK Championship, led 59-1 and was on a break of eight having knocked in a red and black.
He required the fourth last red with the rest to leave his fellow Scot requiring a snooker.
But Hendry conceded before the Rutherglen professional got a chance to stretch his lead and quickly disappeared out of the arena.
Given his disappointing form in the match so far official bookmakers Ladbrokes have demoted the world number six, unconvincing against Gary Wilkinson in the opening round, from title favourite.
Hendry, who was favourite for the £270,000 first prize before the game began yesterday, has now moved out to 100-30. Welsh stablemate Mark Williams is the new favourite at 3-1.
Hendry had been 3-0 down yesterday before finishing the opening session 5-3 in front. He came from 32-0 down to lead 6-3 and compiled the 610th century of his career to go 7-4 in front.
However, every time Hendry went three frames ahead Henry would battle back including to 8-6 with a break of 86-his highest of the match to date.
And Hendry requires four of tonight’s remaining nine frames to qualify for the quarter-finals for a 14th time.
John Higgins was in far more convincing form against Sean Storey on the opposite table.
And the 1998 world champion from Wishaw will look to finish off the match tonight with a session to spare.
He leads 6-2 having compiled two century breaks and additional contributions of 73, 56, 60 and 77.
Apart from the two frames Storey gained Higgins outscored the Grimsby professional 670 points to 64.
He was also on cue to share Ronnie O’Sullivan’s pot of gold for his 147 break against Marco Fu.
Higgins was primed to make a maximum break in frame two after potting 15 reds, 15 blacks and the yellow.
However, he ran out of position on the green and missed a difficult cut which cost him half of O’Sullivan’s £169,000 payday.
But the way Higgins is playing he could well do it later in the match or in the remaining 10 days of the tournament.