Williams leads Higgins in world snooker final

Kyren Wilson

Kyren Wilson

JOHN Higgins was compared to a Mexican boxer during the early stages of the Betfred World Snooker Championship final and will need to show all of that fighting spirit to overhaul Mark Williams and claim a fifth world title.

Higgins has won the world title four times and will make his seventh appearance in the prestigious final after defeating Kyren Wilson 17-13.

A late finish to his semi-final match yesterday appeared to have no impact on the Welshman, as he made a storming start to the final against Scotland's John Higgins at the Crucible Theatre.

Both players are aiming to become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon triumphed in 1978 at the age of 45 - Williams is at 43 one year older than Higgins who won his first title in 1998.

Two further tons helped the 42-year-old Scot level the final at 7-7 but Williams added one of his own as he won the last three frames of the day.

Boasting six world titles and 50 ranking titles between them, Williams and Higgins are snooker royalty having turned professional, along with fellow graduate Ronnie O'Sullivan, in the famous Class of '92.

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It seemed to help as Williams - who contemplated retiring a year ago after a poor run of form - punished the Scot for uncharacteristic errors to gain a slender 5-3 advantage after the first session. "He is bald, I am grey, so it will be a mental final". "I'm sure he'll do big, big things here in the future".

"I've just got to go out there and enjoy the final".

"This is what I call pay-per-view sport - two players who are true gladiators of their sport", O'Sullivan said. I've grown up with John, played him in all the tournaments, and now we're in the final of the World Championship. It is a fantastic feeling.

He will hope to avoid a repeat of last year's final, where he lost to Mark Selby.

If you've ever played down your local club, you will know just how hard it is to master the game, but when you see the full-time pros make similar errors to you, it certainly does make you feel a bit better.

"Hopefully if it goes close towards the end I won't collapse like a cheap tent again", said Williams.

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