World Championship 2017: John Higgins leads Mark Selby in Crucible final
|World Championship final 2017|
|Venue: The Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 30 April-1 May|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TVs, online and app.|
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.
World number one Selby opened with breaks of 76 and 62 but Higgins’ superb 141 – the third highest break of the tournament – turned the session around.
The Scot made further breaks of 63, 95 and 58 to secure a four-frame lead.
The match resumes at 19:00 BST, with a further nine frames to play in the best-of-35 final at the Crucible.
Both players seemed troubled by the condition of the table in early exchanges – which had its cloth replaced overnight – even coming together at one stage to discuss their concern.
Despite pre-match expectations of the contest being a long slog with plenty of tactical play, Selby and Higgins quickly got into their rhythm, stroking in seven breaks over 50, including the 41-year-old Scot’s century.
But Selby looked largely out of sorts and missed a number of straightforward pots, giving his opponent the chance to open a clear lead.
A missed red in particular in the seventh frame, when 54-1 ahead, allowed four-time champion Higgins to clear up with a composed break of 58.
‘Higgins back to his best but Selby looks jaded’
1991 world champion John Parrott on BBC Two
I’ve thought for a couple of seasons John Higgins wasn’t anywhere near his best. I thought his long game was struggling a little bit and he’d lost a bit of confidence because of it.
But now his long game has come back, every facet of his game has come back. He’s a wonderful competitor, he plays the right shot all the time and plays it to an incredibly high standard.
Mark Selby had to go through the ringer to get through his semi-final against Ding Junhui. We’re talking about him being the younger man at 33, as opposed to someone’s who is 41 but that must have taken a lot of mental reserve out of him.
He looks a bit jaded. He had chances in that but he wasn’t quite at his best and he certainly wasn’t scoring at his best.
Mark Selby (Eng) 2-6 John Higgins (Sco)
First session: 76-34 (76), 7-50, 121-8 (62, 58), 0-141 (141), 40-99 (63), 1-126 (95), 54-59 (58), 68-33