Defending champion Stuart Bingham fell 5-1 behind qualifier Ali Carter in the first round of the World Championship but rallied to end the session at 5-4.
Despite taking the opener, Bingham, 39, looked edgy throughout, missing straightforward pots and playing poor safety shots as Carter took advantage.
Carter won five in a row, but Bingham hit back with breaks of 96 and 90 to stay in touch in the best-of-19 match.
Marco Fu leads Peter Ebdon 6-2 and both games play to a finish from 19:00 BST.
Hong Kong’s Fu was in superb form, making two centuries plus further breaks of 84 and 81 to earn a commanding lead over 2002 champion Ebdon.
Bingham’s body language betrayed a battle with his emotions, as he shook his head and smiled to himself in an opening session littered with errors.
Conversely, two-time finalist Carter, 36, looked extremely relaxed around the table, having come through three rounds of qualifying to reach the Crucible.
Breaks of 78 and 50 allowed ‘The Captain’ to open up a 4-1 lead, as well as taking a tactical sixth frame, but Bingham regained his composure to take the next three, including the all-important ninth frame to go into Saturday night’s concluding session only one frame behind.