Title favourite Mark Selby was today looking to chase down fast starter Graeme Dott in his semi-final at the Betfred.com World Snooker Championship.
Dott was highly impressive in last night's opening session, the first of four, dominating the scoring with breaks of 79, 53, 70, 50 and 93 as he developed a 5-2 lead.
But Selby then won the final frame of the night with his first weighty break, a total clearance of 142, to at least end on a high and cut into Dott's lead.
Selby struggled to reproduce the form he produced to oust Ronnie O'Sullivan in their quarter-final, while 2006 champion Dott maintained the high levels he has exhibited all tournament to emerge as a surprise title contender, knocking out Peter Ebdon, Stephen Maguire and Mark Allen.
Heading into the match, Selby told the BBC: "We're playing for our careers and our lives out there but you have to treat it like any other match really.
"Somebody like myself, I've been to the final but I've not taken that extra step to pick up the trophy."
Dott has revealed how close he came to quitting snooker recently.
The 32-year-old Glaswegian's father-in-law and former manager Alex Lambie died in 2006 after a battle with cancer.
Dott's wife Elaine also suffered a miscarriage and had a cancer scare.
Dott was diagnosed with depression, and his snooker career suffered as he drifted to 48th in the provisional world rankings in late 2008.
Retirement was considered, until Dott realised he had nothing to fall back on.
He explained: "Probably even this year I've spoken to my wife about it a few times, but I've nothing else that I can do.
"I don't know any other way I'd earn any money so I basically had to play.
"But my wife at one point was all for me giving up because I was so bad.
"It's a credit to her that she's still with me because of what she must have been through, but it was obviously as low as you could get."
While Dott and Selby play this afternoon, Neil Robertson and Ali Carter have morning and evening sessions to contest, and Carter has plenty of ground to make up.
He had struggled to sleep following his late-night 13-12 victory over Shaun Murphy on Wednesday, and when he lost the first five frames to Robertson it looked worrying for the Essex cueman.
But by taking two of the final three frames of the opening session to trail 6-2 Carter played his way into the match.
Robertson, 28, is bidding to become Australia's first ever Crucible finalist.
Eddie Charlton was Australia's last World Championship finalist, in 1975, when the tournament was actually staged in Melbourne, where Robertson hails from.
Carter has dismissed his chances of winning the world title but that has been part of an exercise in self-kidology, involving sports psychologist Steven Sylvester.
"I've no hope of winning. It's wanting to win that sometimes makes you lose," he said.
"I've lost myself too many tournaments before through wanting it too badly."