World Championship final: Mark Williams closing in on third world title

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Watch: Best shots of the Championship
2018 World Championship final
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 6-7 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC iPlayer, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Mark Williams needs three more frames to claim his third World Championship title after securing a 15-10 lead over John Higgins in the final.

Welshman Williams, 43, won the last three frames to lead 10-7 overnight and took the first four frames on Monday to open a seven-frame advantage.

Higgins, 42, hit back to make it 14-10, but Williams’ break of 44 in the 25th frame ensured a formidable lead.

The best-of-35 match resumes at 19:00 BST live on BBC Two.

The winner will receive the trophy and a record £425,000 in prize money at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre.

Both players are aiming to become the oldest world champion since Ray Reardon aged 45 in 1978, although Williams is now heavy favourite to claim his first world title since 2003.

A seven-frame burst from 7-7 with breaks of 61, 56, 69, 56 and 52 allowed Williams to take charge of the contest.

Despite three centuries in the match, four-time champion Higgins is staring at a second successive final defeat after being beaten by world number one Mark Selby last year.

He did produce a vintage break in the 23rd frame when he came to the table 65-0 behind, but cleared up with a brilliant 72.

He was on a maximum 147 break in the next but broke down after 10 reds and 10 blacks, as Williams took the final frame of the third session.

‘Huge final frame’ – BBC analysis

Six-time world champion Steve Davis on BBC Two: “That final frame was huge and Mark steadied the ship very well. He will be relieved to have won that.

“John Higgins will come out with another push and see what happens and perhaps if he gets a fluke at the start of the session like Mark did this afternoon, you never know.

‘Where are the youngsters?’

World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn on BBC Radio 5 live: “There’s joy in heaven for all us over 40s. I suppose it asks questions about the youngsters and where are they.

“You wonder have they gone soft these younger boys? We’re seeing some top quality matchplay played from Higgins and Williams with all the intensity the Crucible brings.

“The youngsters don’t have the consistency and matchplay techniques we are seeing from the older players, it’s a very interesting scenario.”

Frame scores

John Higgins (Sco) 10-15 Mark Williams (Wal)

Third session: 5-98 (61), 19-73 (56), 0-126 (69, 56), 7-63 (52), (67) 92-29, (72) 76-65 (65), (80) 80-0, 8-84 – 15-10 Williams

Sunday’s scores

First session: 23-75, 15-65, 35-72, (55) 60-70, (119) 120-4, 0-133 (95), (52) 98-0, (59) 82-21 – 5-3 Williams

Second session: 46-81 (72), (51) 75-31, (127) 127-8, 12-76, (56) 85-9, (117) 123-15, 0-123 (118), 35-64 (64), 43-80 – 10-7 Williams

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