John Higgins seized the initiative in a stunning opening session of the Cazoo Tour Championship final and leads Neil Robertson 5-3 in Llandudno.
The pair, who hold 53 ranking titles between them, wowed the Venue Cymru crowd with a masterclass this afternoon. Higgins emerged from the afternoon with a 95% pot success rate, whilst Robertson wasn’t far behind on 94%. They amassed five century runs between them.
Scotland’s 31-time ranking event winner Higgins is seeking his first ever Tour Championship title, while 22-time ranking event winner Robertson is aiming to defend the title he won 12 months ago. The Australian is already guaranteed to secure the Cazoo Series Trophy this evening, having already won the Cazoo Players Championship and been runner-up at the Cazoo World Grand Prix.
The afternoon began at a sedate pace, with Higgins taking a 50-minute opener on the black by just a single point. From that moment onwards, it was big breaks all the way.
The Glaswegian fired in back-to-back century contributions of 136 and 126 to move 3-0 ahead. However, Robertson roared back into contention by crafting a run of 130 and then adding the fifth frame to draw within one at 3-2.
The Melbourne cueman then embarked on a maximum break attempt in the sixth where he made it 3-3, but missed a tricky blue along the baulk cushion to end his run at 129.
Higgins wasn’t to be denied his lead and back-to-back breaks of 127 and 80 gave him a 5-3 cushion at the end of the session. They will return at 7:30pm to play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusion, with a top prize of £150,000 on the line.