Higgins rolls back the years to seize initiative in World Championship final

Mark Selby, the defending world champion, pulled off a very impressive double in his quarter-final tie with Marco Fu last week.

Selby returns as the defending champion having previously won the title for the first time in 2014, while Higgins is a four-time victor.

There is no denying Higgins' place among snooker's elite, and he would go second only to fellow Scot Stephen Hendry on the all-time list of ranking event winners should he lift the trophy.

The match resumes at 19:00 BST, with a further nine frames to play in the best-of-35 final at the Crucible.

"You know in this tournament you're not going to be able to play well in every single session, it's more or less impossible", Selby said.

The 33-year-old from Leicester won their semi-final 17-15, and Higgins needed just one frame of the evening session to wrap up a 17-8 win over an out-of-sorts Barry Hawkins, firing a 120 break.

Now 41-year-old Higgins stands in the way of world number one Selby and a third triumph in Sheffield in four years.

He has landed world titles in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011 but feared his days as a contender for the biggest prizes in snooker were over.

He led heading into the evening session, but Ding fought back to close the gap to 11-10 with the momentum swinging back towards the Chinese superstar.




John Higgins leads Mark Selby 10-7 after the first day of snooker's World Championship final.

John Higgins won five frames in a row to take a 6-2 lead over 2016 champion Mark Selby after the first session of the World Championship final.

But records show that no player has come back to win from a first-session deficit as wide as 6-2 to take the title since that famous Taylor fightback.

"He was desperately unlucky", Higgins said.

That would make world No.6 Higgins the oldest victor since Reardon beat Perrie Mans in 1978 at the age of 45.

He needed a couple of opportunities to claim the frame he needed, but finished in style with a century break - his first of the match - to reach his sixth Crucible final. "I believe next year will be good". I should have won more frames and taken my chances earlier in the session.

He is enjoying an unbroken two-year spell as world number one, but it will be tough to sustain the level of success, just as Higgins has found.

"John seemed to be mentally not with it, missing a lot of easy balls and giving me chance after chance".

BBC pundits described the Selby-Ding match as one of the all-time greatest to be staged at the venue, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary of hosting the tournament.

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