Gilbert Takes Early Lead Over Higgins
David Gilbert came from 2-0 down to lead John Higgins 5-3 after the first session of their Betfred World Championship semi-final.
First to 17 frames goes through to the final to face Judd Trump or Gary Wilson.
It is something of a David versus Goliath clash, as Gilbert has never won a professional tournament and had only won one match at the Crucible before this year. Higgins, by contrast, is playing in his tenth Sheffield semi-final, and aiming for his fifth title having lifted the trophy in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The Scot has 30 ranking titles to his name.
But Gilbert has looked composed so far in the biggest match of his career.
To get to the last four, Tamworth’s 37-year-old Gilbert has beaten Joe Perry 10-7, Mark Williams 13-9 and Kyren Wilson 13-8. Wishaw’s 43-year-old Higgins has seen off Mark Davis 10-7, Stuart Bingham 13-11 and Neil Robertson 13-10.
Higgins won a scrappy opening frame and took the second by clearing from blue to black. World number 16 Gilbert won the third and that settled him into the match as he added a break of 94 to level at 2-2.
A run of 66 put Higgins in charge of the fifth, though Gilbert had a chance to clear but missed the final green to a baulk corner and his opponent regained the lead.
In the sixth, Gilbert potted 14 reds with blacks, then converted a clever cross-double on the 15th red to a centre pocket, but didn’t get position on the black. His hopes of a 147 died with a failed attempt at a table-length double on he black as the break finished on 113.
Runs of 30 and 40 put Gilbert ahead for the first time at 4-3. In the last of the session, the Englishman made 51, then Higgins had an opportunity to clear but missed a tricky red to a top corner on 38. Gilbert added 33 to secure his overnight advantage.
They resume on Friday at 10am for eight more frames.