Ronnie O'Sullivan fought back from an early scare against David Gilbert to take a commanding lead into Sunday at the Dart's World Championship, while Mark Selby had a relatively easy time of things against Jamie Jones.
Many scoffed when O'Sullivan predicted his tie against Gilbert could be a banana skin, especially considering his 7-0 record against the Englishman in tournament meetings.
However, he turned out to be more prophet than paranoid as Gilbert quickly raced out to a three-frame lead.
O'Sullivan found his groove with a hundred break in the fourth and took control from there to earn a 6-3 lead ahead of Sunday's deciding session but the signs of a potential upset are there.
Defending champion Selby began his tournament against Welshman Jones, who was a qualifier for the event.
"It was great. Emotional walking out today and I got a great reception. It is nice to be back playing and wasn't sure if I would play in the World Championship. The result for me today was irrelevant, I am happy to win and I enjoyed it," Selby said.
He may be on the hunt for a fifth title but there was some careless and sloppy play that he needs to iron out of his game if he is to make it to the later rounds this year.
Fortunately for him, Jones did not fully capitalise and got off to a terrible start by allowing the world number two to take an early two-frame lead.
Credit where it is due, Jones fought back well and won four of the next five frames to move into a 4-3 lead. But from then on it was virtually all Selby, who took the tie 10-7.
"I fought on and I showed heart. I never give up - that's the only way I know how to play - and made it hard for Mark. I can be proud of myself and could have rolled over at 8-3 but stuck in there with the world champ," said Jones after the match.
Elsewhere at the World Snooker Championship
Zhao Xintong put himself in a fantastic position to win his match against Jamie Clarke by securing a 7-2 lead in Saturday's session.
Shaun Murphy faces the tough task of fighting back against Scotland's Stephen Maguire after surrendering a 6-3 lead while Jamie Page holds the same advantage over Barry Hawkins.