John Higgins produced a fine opening session of snooker to open up a 6-2 lead over Mark Selby in the first session of the 2017 Betfred World Championship final.
Higgins and Selby met ten years ago in the 2007 Crucible showpiece, which the illustrious Scot won 18-13. On this occasion the world number one Selby assumes the role of favourite. However, either man can make history if they take home the title.The £375,000 awarded to the victor will ensure someone surpasses Stephen Hendry’s record for most prize money accumulated in a season, which stands at £740,000.
The current World Champion Selby has the opportunity to join an exclusive group if he lifts silverware tomorrow evening. If he can defend his title he will join Ronnie O’Sullivan, Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis as the only players to have won the event in consecutive years at the Crucible.
Selby was the first to register a frame after Higgins broke down on 34 in the opener to allow the 33-year-old to step in a compile a run of 74 and go 1-0 up. The Scot restored parity, before runs of 58 and 62 helped the Jester to regain his lead at 2-1.
From that point on Higgins assumed control of the session and produced some trademark matchplay snooker.
A stunning contribution of 141 from the 28-time ranking winner equaled the highest break ever made in a Crucible final, tying Ronnie O’Sullivan’s effort in 2012. Further runs of 63 and 95 helped Higgins into a 4-2 advantage.
Selby looked set to claim a pivotal seventh frame before missing a straightforward red to the bottom left corner. In typical fashion Higgins punished him with a clearance of 58 to steal on the black. The Scot then hammered home his advantage by taking the final frame to ensure his 6-2 cushion. They will resume this evening at 7pm.