John Higgins won four frames in a row to nose ahead of Judd Trump in the Betfred.com World Championship final.
Having played poorly yesterday and escaped by finishing just 10-7 behind, Higgins produced the snooker which has brought him three titles at the Crucible to carry a 13-12 lead into tonight’s concluding session.
He needs just five more to land him another world title, while Trump will need to simply forget about his afternoon.
The 21-year-old began well enough but soon began missing and Higgins was unforgiving in doling out punishment.
Higgins had breaks of 59, 97, 47, 93, 113 and 57 as he won six of eight frames, and it was typically errors from Trump which presented him with his scoring chances.
They shared the opening four frames as Trump moved 12-9 in front.
At that stage there was no great cause for concern for the youngster who came through qualifying to reach the first round and then caused a sensation by taking out defending champion Neil Robertson, followed by Martin Gould, Graeme Dott and Ding Junhui.
But that soon changed.
It was essential for 35-year-old Higgins that he should start well, and Trump gifted him an early chance when he missed a straight red with the rest.
A break of 59 allowed the Scot to take the opening frame, and with Trump seemingly a touch nervous, another to narrow the gap to 11-10 would have piled pressure on the young man’s shoulders.
Back came Trump to regain his three-frame lead with a run of 104, his third century of the match, which only came to a halt when he tried one too many exhibition shots.
Trump missed an opening red in the next though, and that gave Higgins another opportunity.
His highest break in 17 frames yesterday was just 64, but he improved on that with 97 to make it 11-9.
The frames were racing by, and the pair completed a fourth well inside an hour’s play when Trump rammed in a rapid 99.
Trump had a real chance of going four frames clear after the mid-session interval and took on a tricky blue but failed to cut it in. Higgins did so but left himself awkward on the pink. He sneaked it in though and fortunately flicked the black over the pocket.
Higgins then got back to 12-11 after Trump missed a long blue to halt a break on 35. Higgins was in and made his 93.
Trump was struggling. He took on a difficult brown off the opening red in the next frame and overcut it.
It went level when Higgins fired in 113, and he added 57 to take the next, making him favourite for when they resume this evening.