Ruthless Selby seizes lead over Higgins in World Championship final

Ruthless Selby seizes lead over Higgins in World Championship final
Ruthless Selby seizes lead over Higgins in World Championship final

By Shamoon Hafez

On Events Sport at the Crucible Theatre

World Snooker: Shot of the Championship
World Snooker Championship final
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 30 April-1 May
Coverage: Watch live on Eyes On Events Two, Connected TVs, online and app.

Defending champion Mark Selby turned the World Championship final around in dramatic fashion by opening up a 13-11 lead over John Higgins.

Selby trailed 10-7 overnight, but the world number one claimed six out of seven frames played in the third session at the Crucible.

Four-time champion Higgins, who led 10-4 on the first day, struggled under the relentless pressure.

They resume the best-of-35 match at 19:00 BST.

The Torturer at it again

The pair's last meeting in a Crucible showpiece 10 years ago saw the latest ever finish in a final with play coming to a close at 12:54am on the Tuesday morning.

This encounter could go the same way, as a turgid third session saw play ended early with a frame being carried over.

As expected, Selby was able to recuperate overnight and returned refreshed by engaging in an immense tussle with Higgins and has now claimed nine out of the last 10 frames.

He took the first two frames of the second day, both of which were scrappy, including one where the remaining 12 reds ended up in the top half of the table.

The Leicester man could have drawn level, but missed a black off the spot and was punished as Higgins cleared up with 78, but Selby took the next three to lead 12-11 and a 72 break in the 24th opened up a two-frame advantage.

Selby can become the fourth player after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan to claim back-to-back titles in the modern era, while Higgins is aiming to become the oldest winner of the title since Ray Reardon aged 45 in 1978.

"Have you ever seen anything like that before?"

Analysis

Six-time world champion Steve Davis

John Higgins has seen his head scrambled just now by one of the greatest predators of all time.

Frame scores

Mark Selby (Eng) 13-11 John Higgins (Sco)

Third session: 76-1, 53-2, 29-107 (78), 63-40, 68-19 (67), 82-0 (58), 72-0 (72) 13-11 Selby

Second session: 86-0 (86), 8-60, 44-74, 69-22, 1-68, 0-76 (76), 81-9 (81), 121-12 (121), 96-17 10-7 Higgins

First session: 76-34 (76), 7-50, 121-8 (62, 58), 0-141 (141), 40-99 (63), 1-126 (95), 54-59 (58), 33-68 6-2 Higgins

Highest breaks in final: Higgins 141*, Selby 121

* Joint-highest in a World Championship final

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