Judd Trump stayed ahead of Marco Fu but rode his luck to carry a two-frame lead into the final session of their second-round tussle at the Betfair World Championship.
World number three Trump fired three centuries yesterday in building a 6-2 lead, but Fu edged the second session to cut his deficit to 9-7 ahead of a possible nine further frames this evening.
Thirteen was the target for a place in the quarter-finals, where Shaun Murphy was awaiting the winner after his win against Graeme Dott last night.
The four frames prior to the interval today were evenly split, but Trump had two bad misses from Fu to thank for that.
After earlier breaks of 94 from Trump and 83 from Fu, the final frame before their 20-minute break looked to have swung the way of the Hong Kong potter only for him to fluff shots at the yellow and green.
Trump inflicted the appropriate punishment, clearing to the pink.
But Fu, a 35-year-old who reached the World Championship finals in 2006, did not let the errors affect him adversely and returned to make breaks of 117, 66 and 70 in slicing Trump’s lead to 8-7, making the last frame of the session particularly important.
It became tense in the arena, and a battle of wits.
Fu had four attempts at escaping from a snooker behind the yellow and failed with each, eventually leaving Trump in with a scoring chance, from which he made 40 for a 63-0 lead before missing a slightly awkward red with the rest.
Trump was the first to crack after a drawn-out safety battle, trying to swerve the cue ball around the yellow but instead clipping the colour.
Fu clawed his way back to 63-31, but then left a red hanging over the pocket and a run of 23 made the frame Trump’s.
Ronnie O’Sullivan was back in the building for the start of his second-round match against Ali Carter, the man he has beaten in two World Championship finals, in 2008 and last year.
They were getting under way this afternoon, while world number one Mark Selby was set to resume his last-16 clash with Barry Hawkins, leading 9-7.