Mark Williams makes a fast start to Crucible final
Higgins toils early on but ends first session on brighter note
The final: second session
BBC & Eurosport, 7pm Sunday
Mark Williams made a flying start to his bid for a third Crucible crown when establishing a 5-3 first-session lead over John Higgins in the Betfred World Championship final on Sunday.
Prior to the final the tournament sponsors cut Higgins from 4-6 to 4-7 to claim a fifth world title in the wake of Williams' thrilling late-night 17-15 semi-final victory over Barry Hawkins on Saturday.
But with Higgins quoted around evens to win the opening session, Betfred were delighted to see Williams reel off the first four frames of the best-of-35-frames final.
However, having trailed 4-0 and 5-1, Higgins, who had a break of 119 in frame five, will feel elated to have won three of the four frames after the mid-session interval to reduce his arrears to 5-3.
The bookmakers were finding the pair difficult to split after the first session and most layers were going 10-11 each of two when the market settled down. Williams had been a 6-4 shot before the final started.
The cloth - a new one was put on prior to the final - looked to be running a shade slower than the one used for the semis.
But with Higgins having got more used to the table speed in frames five to eight - the Scot was cueing much better after the first-session break - he still looks the value with nine frames to be contested in Sunday evening's second session.
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