Australian Neil Robertson will have to come from behind to make the World Championship Snooker decider after giving up a first day lead to Englishman Mark Selby in their semi-final.
Robertson, fresh from a quarter-final win over Judd Trump in which he became the first player to make 100 competitive century breaks in a tour season, again enjoyed a three-figure break – 130 on the final frame of the day.
But he was playing catch-up with Selby who established a 5-3 lead on Thursday at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.
Robertson does however have recent history on his side having come from 5-1 down to beat Selby 10-7 in the final of the UK Championship, snooker’s second-most important tournament, in December.
Meanwhile Ronnie O’Sullivan maintained his charge towards a third successive World Championship title as he established a 6-2 lead over Barry Hawkins in the first session of their semi-final.
O’Sullivan has been in fine form during his pursuit of a sixth world crown of his career since coming from behind to defeat Joe Perry in the second round.
O’Sullivan swept past Shaun Murphy, himself a former world champion, in the quarter-finals with a session to spare and, in a repeat of last year’s final, wasted little time in establishing a four-frame lead in the best of 33 contest.
He took the first of the semi-final with a break of 63 before Hawkins levelled with a contribution of 96 and briefly went ahead with a break of 76.
But it was one-way traffic from then on, Hawkins’s mistakes and O’Sullivan’s skill seeing the champion, who made a break of 108 in the seventh frame before a missed red from his opponent let him take the next, pull ahead.