Stephen Hendry will be richly rewarded for his 147 maximum break but he is in danger of slumping out of the World Championship this lunchtime. His opponent Shaun Murphy was stirred into action by Hendry's perfect clearance in the seventh frame of the morning, his second in the event's history. But Murphy surged back from 5-2 down to lead 8-6 with two frames remaining of last night's session.
Hendry stands to pocket a £157,000 bonus, unless any other player makes a 147 in the next six days, and the tournament sponsors will make a separate £147,000 donation to Sport Relief.
When he surged 5-2 ahead on the back of his maximum break it did look as though the Perthshire cueman had rediscovered the prowess which allowed him to dominate the sport in the 1990s. But Murphy had other ideas. He reeled off five frames in a row as Hendry wilted. Balls were wriggling out via the jaws to Hendry's frustration, and Murphy was clinical. He raced through the frame following Hendry's maximum with a break of 73, and when play resumed later Murphy had runs of 137, 83, 104 and 80. Hendry pounced for the 13th frame, with a break of 51. Murphy then won a scrappy frame to pull 8-6 in front.
Mark Allen, who knocked out Ronnie O'Sullivan, will take a 9-7 lead into this afternoon's concluding session of his match against Ryan Day.
The winner of that will face either John Higgins or Mark Selby for a place in the final. Selby and Wishaw's Higgins are tied at 4-4. Australian Neil Robertson seized a 5-3 lead against world No 2 Stephen Maguire.
* The Championship is to stay in Sheffield until 2014 after an contract extension was agreed. The tournament has been staged at the city's Crucible theatre since 1977.
Heat in the Crucible: Roll-call of 147 breaks
1983 Cliff Thorburn (Can) v T Griffiths
1992 Jimmy White (Eng) v T Drago
1995 Stephen Hendry (Sco) v J White
1997 Ronnie O'Sullivan (Eng) v M Price
2003 Ronnie O'Sullivan v M Fu
2005 Mark Williams (Wal) v R Milkins
2008 Ronnie O'Sullivan v M Williams
2008 Ali Carter (Eng) v P Ebdon
2009 Stephen Hendry v S Murphy