John Higgins held off a late surge from Kyren Wilson to lead 5-3 after the first session of their World Snooker Championship semi-final at the Crucible Theatre.
Higgins was quickest out the blocks when making a break of 38 until a lapse positional shot forced him to retreat to the balk line and a missed brown moments later gave Wilson a chance to get his hand on the table.
He failed to capitalise, however, and another failed cannon handed Higgins the initiative which he grabbed with both hands to take a 1-0 lead.
The second frame of the afternoon saw Higgins gifted another chance when Wilson missed an easy blue off the spot and the Scot took full advantage, a break of 64 doubling his lead.
Higgins enjoyed a stroke of fortune in the third when escaping a snooker and leaving Wilson with no pot to go at before a period of safety play ensued.
The pair traded easy missed reds before Wilson let Higgins in once more, the four-time Crucible winner doing the rest with a break of 77.
Wilson continued the trend of knocking in a superb long red before missing when in the balls and again broke down when looking certain to get a frame on the board.
Higgins responded with a run of 37 before Wilson lost the white when needing one more pot on the final red to seal the frame.
He held his nerve, though, potting an easy green to pull a frame back before the players took a break.
Upon the resumption, more superb long potting from Wilson handed him a golden opportunity to get back within one frame but having looked good on 61, he broke down, giving Higgins the chance to counter.
As ever, Higgins made no mistake and cleared the table with a run of 69 to go 4-1 in front, leaving Wilson reeling in his chair.
Higgins failed to keep his foot on the throttle in the sixth frame, though, when a foul gave Wilson the chance to redeem himself.
Wilson was again unlucky when going into the reds on 62, only a couple of pots away from sealing the frame, and a missed pot from mid-range moments later let Higgins back to the table.
However, a missed black from Higgins ensured Wilson wouldn’t be denied this time and he reduced his arrears to 2-4.
Wilson was really beginning to find his groove as the seventh frame got underway, striding around the table with real purpose, and he was soon in the balls, a magnificent total clearance of 140 finally putting his stamp on the game and this time leaving Higgins with plenty to ponder.
Nevertheless, a fine steal in the final frame of the session would ensure Higgins led 5-3 overnight, Wilson missing an easy red when almost over the line and Higgins producing a typically nerveless clearance to the pink to keep Wilson at bay.