Mark Selby won six of the final seven frames of Sunday’s evening session to move into a 10-7 lead over Shaun Murphy in the final of the Betfred World Championship (Match betting – Selby 1/6, Murphy 4/1).
The Jester from Leicester, who is bidding to claim his fourth world title at the Crucible, had been trailing 5-3 heading into the second session of the final, but moved through the gears during the evening, producing breaks of 85, 67, 86 and 90 along the way.
Selby was certainly pleased to have established a lead heading into Monday, particularly as he felt he had struggled to find his best form for much of the opening two sessions.
“I felt a bit edgy at the start, it’s a world final and I was trying that extra bit harder and Shaun started off a lot better than me,” Selby told BBC Sport.
“Every final I have been to, I have always felt really tired going into it, but I have dug in today, grafted when I needed to and managed to get myself a lead.”
World number seven Murphy is bidding to win a second world title 16 years after he claimed his first, which would be the longest ever gap between World Championship successes.
The Magician certainly had looked in good form during the opening session and he believes he is capable of overturning the deficit, as he proved in his previous Crucible final against Matthew Stevens in 2005, as well as this year’s semi-final when he came from 12-9 down to see off Kyren Wilson 17-12 (Selby 8/11, Murphy 11/10 – Frame 18 Winner).
“He was fabulous tonight,” Murphy told BBC Sport. “From good safety shots I thought I had played he always seemed to have the answer and potted some outrageous long balls.
“It’s a frame easier than in 2005, but in all seriousness I think I have showed in the semi-final I can win when I am down. This match is a long way from being over.”
The best-of-35 final will resume at 13:00 BST on Monday.