Anastasiades garnered 35.5 percent on the first round with Melas trailing behind with 30.2 percent.
Together the two second-round opponents secured close to 66 per cent of the vote against around 33 per cent won by the other three candidates, all opponents of a bizonal, bicommunal federation.
Polling stations opened at 0500 GMT with exit polls giving a first snapshot of voting when they close at 1600 GMT. Results should be final a little over two hours after voting ends.
In a dispatch from Nicosia on Saturday, the British newspaper Guardian claims that there has been a discernible shift in mood as supporters of Malas become more hopeful of victory.
Anastasiades, 71, credited with overseeing the island’s exit from international bailout supervision, has long been the frontrunner. But while most analysts say the election is still his to lose, his lead no longer looks unassailable, Helena Smith reports for the Guardian.
The result may be close due also to the fact that other smaller parties – including the centrist Diko, which came in third under its nationalist leader, Nikolas Papadopoulos – have refused to endorse either candidate.