Graeme Dott managed to secure a slim 5-3 lead after the first session of his Betfred.com World Snooker Championship semi-final with Mark Selby.
Selby playing his second semi-final in four years is going to have to win the trophy the hard way. En route to the last four he has already seen off three former World Champions in Ken Doherty, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan. Facing a fourth in Dott he will have beaten a quality field were he to reach the final.
The two players have been scoring heavily throughout the tournment with 11 centuries between them, Dott edging that contest with six. It was the Scot who started strongly tonight with a 79 to put him ahead.
Selby though displayed his battling qualities in the previous round coming back from 9-7 and 11-9 down to knock out the Rocket.
Dott should have taken the second frame too, he looked well set and was clearing up on a break of 53 but inexplicably missed the green to it's own pocket. Selby took full advantage to level.
The 32-year-old, aiming for his third appearance in the final made no mistake in the next two frames. Runs of 70 and 48 put him 3-1 up at the interval.
When play resumed, Selby took a scrappy frame. The Jester from Leicester was clearly suffering the effects of his match with O'Sullivan, looking off form he struggled for fluency. Dott was scoring but with none of the first seven frames lasting less than 16 minutes it was match play snooker at it's grittiest.
Breaks of 50 and 93 ensured Dott would finish the session with an advantage, Selby though finished with a run of a 142 to make sure it was a slender one.