With many predicting the winner of Ding Junhui against Mark Selby to go on and be 2017 World champion, the duo continue to trade blows as they go toe-to-toe in a titanic struggle.
Ding keeps fighting
The first of four sessions set the stall for the match as both players took turns to take control. Ding opened a 2-1 lead with breaks of 76 and 84, only for a 99 from the reigning World champion helping him to two successive frames and the lead for the first time. Yet 52, 56, 60 and 110 in the last three sessions left Selby in his seat as Ding opened a 5-3 lead.
The World number one came out flying in the second session as he put together four consecutive successes. A break of 100 secured Selby's first century, before two tactical wins and a 67 ensured he went two frames ahead for the first time in the match. Ding kept himself in the contest when it threatened to slip away, winning two of the final four sessions, manufacturing an excellent 139 in the penultimate frame.
China's finest player has previously been accused of not having the mental frame of mind to go the distance on the big stage but he showed his metal in Friday evening's session. After Selby started the session with a 128, Ding went on to win five of the next seven frames to draw level at 12-12. Breaks of 95, 117 and 128 underpinned his high scoring amongst the balls.
Higgins scraping his way through
Meanwhile, John Higgins holds a 10-6 advantage at the midway point of his match against Barry Hawkins, though both players have looked rusty in a struggle of different proportions to Selby and Ding.
Only one century has been recorded in 16 frames, that being a 115 contribution from Hawkins. Higgins best score has been an 89 but a weary looking four-time World champion has turned to his safety game to throw himself over the line in numerous frames.