Saturday 21 July 2018

Hawkins and Higgins take early initiative in Sheffield semi-finals

Barry Hawkins. Photo: Getty Images
Barry Hawkins. Photo: Getty Images

Barry Hawkins edged a step closer to a second appearance in a World Championship final by taking a 5-3 lead over Mark Williams after the first session of their semi-final at the Crucible.

Hawkins, runner-up in 2013, started with a brilliant break of 129 and followed it up with 74.

Williams - aided by a clever three-ball plant - took the third with an 88 but Hawkins won the next to go into the mid-session interval with a three-frame lead.

The big breaks briefly went missing, with the pair trading scrappy frames.

Williams then missed a tricky shot - using one rest balanced on another - at the start of the seventh, which gave Hawkins the opportunity to make a frame-winning break of 90.

But the two-time world champion responded with a 110 to close the gap back to two and the Welshman will fancy his chances when the second session resumes this afternoon.

In the other semi-final, John Higgins takes a 5-3 lead over Kyren Wilson into this morning's second session.

The four-time champion raced into a 3-0 lead and then endured a mini Wilson fightback before clinching the final frame of the day.

Playing in his ninth semi-final at the Sheffield venue, he showed his experience by finding his rhythm and holding an early advantage.

Higgins managed to forge ahead with breaks of 57, 65 and 77 before Wilson - in his first semi-final at the Crucible - finally got on the board before the mid-session interval with a century.

The Scottish veteran restored his advantage after the resumption with a clearance of 69, but the 26-year-old found his form to claim the next two, including a brilliant break of 140 in the seventh.

But Wilson missed an inviting red in the final frame of the day and Higgins took advantage, clearing to the pink, as he aims to reach a seventh decider.

Higgins came through a nail-biting final-frame decider against Judd Trump late on Wednesday and was beaten in last year's final by Mark Selby.

Irish Independent

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