Four-time Crucible king John Higgins took the third session of his Betfred World Championship semi-final clash with world number 16 David Gilbert, but still trails 13-11.
Gilbert is competing in the one-table setup at the Crucible for the first time. While in stark contrast Higgins is aiming to reach an eighth World Championship final. That would see him equal Steve Davis and move one behind Stephen Hendry’s nine world final appearances.
They came into this evening with Gilbert holding a 10-6 advantage, after the former potato farmer from Tamworth got the better of this morning’s second session.
37-year-old Gilbert took the opening frame tonight with a break of 56. Higgins then got himself off the mark for the evening in the following frame with an extraordinary shot. The Scot deposited a table length double on the final black to make it 11-7.
Gilbert restored his five-frame advantage with a break of 75, before Higgins hit back to make it 12-8 heading into the mid-session.
Wishaw’s Higgins then fired in a sublime 143 break to close within three frames at 12-9. The contribution was the 86th century of the tournament so far. That equals the record tally, set in 2015 and 2016.
Gilbert then composed fine break of 91 to make it 13-9, before a tense ending to the session. Higgins claimed a scrappy 23rd frame to close the gap. The last frame of the evening saw both players miss opportunities, as it all came down to the final red. A safety error from Gilbert left a free ball and Higgins capitalised to emerge just two frames behind at 13-11.
They will return for the concluding session tomorrow afternoon at 2:30pm.