Barry Hawkins came roaring back this afternoon to draw level with Ricky Walden in a Betfair World Championship semi-final that looked to be going all the way to the wire.

From 9-7 ahead at the start of play, Walden pulled 12-8 clear at the interval, meaning he required five more frames to reach his first Crucible final.

But he could not find any of those after they returned, as Hawkins reeled off four in a row to tie the match at 12-12 heading into tonight's concluding session.

Walden had gone 11-7 in front after a slice of luck was followed by a masterful clearance.

A break of 62 from Hawkins was his first of 50 or above in the match, and came to an end when the white appeared to take a heavy bounce off the side cushion and nudged up to the black, forcing him to play safe.

Walden cleared up with 63 to take the frame on the black, opening a four-frame lead.

After his struggles in the opening two sessions of the four-session contest, Hawkins was scoring more heavily today, and 114 from the Kent cueman made it 11-8.

Walden went to the break with a run of 78, capitalising after Hawkins potted the white.

But Hawkins, who had clung to Walden despite finding it tough going in the first two sessions, then raised his performance a further level and returned from the interval to fire a 104 break.

A gruelling 56-minute frame went the way of the 34-year-old too, as he pinched it by driving in a long pink and adding a simple black.

And after narrowing Walden's lead to a single frame, Hawkins swept to a break of 66 to end the session with the match in stalemate.

They were set to resume at 7pm tonight, by which time the pair would know which player they were vying to tackle in the final, that begins tomorrow.