Williams Takes Lead In Crucible Final
Mark Williams established a 5-3 advantage over John Higgins after the first session of the Betfred World Championship final.
The clash is a meeting between two of the all-time greats of the sport. They hold six world titles between them, with 42-year-old Higgins having won four and 43-year-old Williams being a two-time World Champion. The pair are now locked in battle for the 2018 world crown and £425,000, the most lucrative top prize in the history of the sport. For all of the key stats surrounding this year’s final click here.
Higgins booked his spot in the showpiece match thanks to a 17-13 defeat of Kyren Wilson yesterday afternoon.
Williams secured his place in the final by beating Barry Hawkins in a late night epic. He eventually came through 17-15 after depositing the winning black in the 32nd frame at 11:50pm. Many would have been forgiven for thinking that the Welshman would be tired coming into this afternoon’s session.
As it transpired, it was Higgins who looked the more jaded in the opening exchanges. The first four frames saw balls missed by both players. Williams didn’t register a run over 50, but he looked to be the more clinical of the two, sweeping to a 4-0 advantage at the mid-session.
The match burst into life when the players came back out. Higgins forcefully got himself back into contention with a superb century break of 119 which reduced his arrears to 4-1.
Williams responded with a contribution of 95 to restore his advantage at 5-1. However, the steely 30-time ranking event winner Higgins took the final two frames of the session with breaks of 52 and 59 to reduce his deficit to 5-3.
They will return for nine further frames this evening at 7pm.