Home / BBC News / World Championship 2017: John Higgins leads Mark Selby in Crucible final

World Championship 2017: John Higgins leads Mark Selby in Crucible final

Watch Higgins’ fantastic 141 break in one minute
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 on Sunday in the best-of-35 final at the Crucible.

Both players seemed troubled in early exchanges by the condition of the table – which had its cloth replaced overnight – even coming together at one stage to discuss their concerns.

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.

Selby, 33, looked largely out of sorts and missed a number of straightforward pots, giving his opponent the chance to open an unexpected four-frame 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 beat Selby 10 years ago to win his third world title and last won the championship in 2011.

He is the oldest finalist since 49-year-old Ray Reardon lost to Alex Higgins in 1982.

Englishman Selby is attempting to become only the fourth player – after Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan – to win consecutive world titles in the modern era.

‘Higgins back to his best but Selby looks jaded’

Former 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 he was struggling a little bit with his long game 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, plays the right shot all the time, and does it to an incredibly high standard.

Mark Selby had to go through the wringer to get through his semi-final against Ding Junhui. We’re talking about him being the younger man at 33, but that must have taken a lot of mental reserve out of him.

He looks a bit jaded. He had chances but wasn’t quite at his best and certainly wasn’t scoring at his best.

Frame scores

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), 33-68

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