Defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan led Mark Selby 10-7 at the end of the first day of the World Snooker Championship final in Sheffield.
The Rocket looked set to take a commanding lead into Monday's third session but Selby won the last two frames on Sunday evening to remain in touch at the Crucible.
O'Sullivan, bidding for a third successive title, won the opening three frames of the match but there was little to choose between the pair in the first session.
Selby, 30, had a chance to end the session level at 4-4 but blew a golden opportunity in the eighth frame with a surprise missed black which allowed O'Sullivan to move 5-3 ahead.
O'Sullivan, 38, also started the second session in positive fashion by winning the first three frames to lead 8-3 but Selby once again refused to be intimidated as he won the 12th and 13th frames.
His efforts were particularly impressive considering the late finish to his 17-15 semi-final triumph over Neil Robertson in their semi-final tussle.
The pendulum seemed to swing back in favour of O'Sullivan, who had knocked out Barry Hawkins with a session to spare in the last four, with a break of 131 in the 14th frame.
He quickly made it 10-5 with a run of 87, however Leicester-based Selby, who is chasing his first world title, saved his best for last, as breaks of 58 and 62 won him consecutive frames.
The two Englishmen will resume battle at 2pm on Monday afternoon with O'Sullivan requiring another eight frames for victory.