World Snooker Championship final: Mark Williams leads John Higgins

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Williams was in such good form he even potted a pink with his eyes closed in the third frame
2018 World Championship final
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 6-7 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, Connected TV, BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and mobile app.

Two-time champion Mark Williams opened up a surprise 5-3 lead over four-time winner John Higgins in the final of the World Championship in Sheffield.

Despite a late-night semi-final finish on Saturday, 43-year-old Williams made a strong start to lead 4-0.

Higgins, 42, hit back by taking three of the next four, including the only century break of the first session, to trail by two.

The best-of-35 final resumes at 19:00 BST with nine more frames to be played.

Welshman Williams, who last reached the final in 2003 when he beat Ken Doherty, completed his dramatic last-four tie against Barry Hawkins at 23:50 BST the previous night.

Two hours later he was having a kebab and chips at a takeaway in Sheffield and he was still feeling hungry during the final when he asked to share some crisps, chocolate snacks and sweets with a fan sitting in the arena beside him.

It seemed to help as Williams punished Higgins for uncharacteristic errors, especially in the fourth frame when the Scot missed a fine cut on the green.

But last year’s runner-up Higgins recovered and finally got on the scoreboard with a well-taken 119 clearance, as well as making breaks of 52 and 59 to keep in touch.

‘Higgins looks more comfortable’ – BBC analysis

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry: “At 4-0 down John Higgins needed a frame quickly and to do it convincingly in one visit with a century break was huge. In the first four frames I don’t think I’ve ever seen John as uncomfortable in a major final as he was.”

Six-time world champion Steve Davis: “From John Higgins’ perspective, he’ll be delighted with the way he’s closed that session out. While Mark Williams obviously has the jump on him, he looks a lot more comfortable at the end of that session than he did at the start.”

Shot of the Championship? Williams’ ‘unbelievable’ pot

Frame scores

John Higgins (Sco) 3-5 Mark Williams (Wal)

First session: 23-75, 15-65, 35-72, (55) 60-70, (119) 120-4, 0-133 (95), (52) 98-0

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