Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham are locked together at 4-4 following the opening session of their World Championship semi-final.
Bingham produced the better snooker of the two, but also made the greater number of mistakes and it resulted in Selby ending the session on level terms despite being well short of the level he produced earlier in the tournament.
The semi-finals are best of 33 frames, meaning both players have time to settle into the contest, and will return on Friday morning.
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Bingham made a bright start and seized on a missed red from Selby to confidently knock in a break of 60 which ended when he ran out of position. A second opening came his way to secure the opening frame.
It was a confident start from Bingham and he looked good in the second, but played a poor positional shot and it allowed Selby to draw level despite looking extremely shaky.
Bingham again looked the better player in the third, but missed a yellow - which he played much too hard - and Selby stepped in to clear the colours to edge ahead.
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In three frames, Selby conjured up a solitary break of 33, but found himself in front.
Bingham’s travails continued in the fourth, and he twice went back to his chair muttering in frustration after errors. Despite struggling with his cue-ball control, Selby punished the errors of his opponent to open up a two-frame lead at the first interval of the match.
The break came at a good time for Bingham as he returned to knock in a 92 which included a couple of sublime pots - showing his cueing arm was flowing.
The head-shaking, muttering Bingham returned in the sixth frame as he broke down on 36 - after a stunning opening red - when leaving a black short of the bottom-left pocket.
Luck was on Bingham’s side, though, as in potting the blue and splitting the pack, Selby was unfortunate to see a red drop into the bottom-right pocket - which allowed his opponent to draw level at 3-3.
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In the history of the World Championship, only three qualifiers have gone all the way to the title. Bingham’s hopes of doing that are alive and kicking, and he edged ahead in the match with a confident 82.
Bingham's long potting was out the top drawer; he knocked in a couple of stunners in the eighth. But he fell out of position and Selby was able to take advantage and level the session.
Bingham made all the good breaks and outscored Selby - who could only muster one contribution over 40 in the opening eight frames - by almost two to one, but the session ended all square and highlighted the fighting skills of Selby.
Bingham will know Selby has gears to go through, judging by his run to the semi-finals, and failing to eke out an early advantage could be important.
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