ALI Carter kept his chances of reaching the quarter-finals alive against Mark Selby by taking the last two frames of the session to trail 9-7 at the Crucible.
This second-round match between two former finalists, which concludes later on Friday night, always looked as it would be keenly contested.
World No11 Carter has appeared in the showpiece at the Dafabet World Championship twice since Selby was there in 2007, losing on both occasions to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
He clearly fancied the job from the start against Selby, 30, but endured frustration on Friday morning as drawing level proved mission impossible.
Selby arrived in Sheffield this year for once not being widely tipped as a certain contender after showing patchy form even when reaching the latter stages of tournaments.
And that was in evidence again on Friday – fuelling Carter’s frustration that he was not always able to take full advantage.
The Essex player really needed to win the first frame of the day – but it went to Selby.
And from that point Carter was simply struggling to remain in touch, unable to produce a winning burst of two or three frames to get level.
When Leicester Jester Selby extended his lead to 9-5, helped by a break of 53, it looked as if Carter’s resistance might be over.
But the Captain has a cussed streak and with his back against the wall he held his nerve to claim two frames that have altered the course of the match.
On the other table Barry Hawkins and Ricky Walden played the first session of their second-round match, a repeat of last year’s semi-final won by the Hawk.
And the pair went off level at 4-4 in the best-of-25 frame encounter.
Photographs by Monique Limbos