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John Higgins made a maximum 147 break but still trailed Judd Trump 6-1 on Sunday during the Shanghai Masters final's opening session.
The Scot was outplayed before producing his perfect clearance in the sixth frame to get on the scoreboard, but Trump was not distracted and swiftly restored his five-frame cushion in the best-of-19 tussle.
Trump, who lost to Higgins in the 2011 World Championship final, almost made a dream start with a maximum himself.
However after sinking 14 reds and blacks in the opening frame he missed the 15th red.
With breaks of 74 and 111 the 23-year-old Bristol potter moved 5-0 ahead, only to have to stay in his seat during the next frame as Higgins cleared up in thrilling style.
For the 37-year-old Scot it was the sixth 147 of his career, yet Trump remained on course to avenge last year's Crucible defeat by the four-time world champion.
They had two further frames to play in the first session of the day, before returning later for a possible 10 more.
Higgins reduced his arrears before UK champion Trump took the final frame of the session with a run of 53 to establish a 7-2 lead, needing just three more to land his third major world ranking title and the £75,000 top prize.