Reigning champion Mark Selby came through a tough semi-final against Ding Junhui to make it this far. Yet for the first time in the tournament, he found himself a comfortable margin behind as John Higgins opened a 6-2 lead after the first session. This was to be a real test of Selby's credentials.
Selby bundles his way to the interval
The World number one set about passing that challenge as soon as the players returned to the table for the second session. He manufactured an aggressive break of 86 as Higgins failed to register a pot and Selby looked to establish some momentum. Yet Selby missed a handful of chances to shorten the gap further as Higgins saw two starts to formulations break down, only for Selby to bring the frame to an abrupt end after potting the cue ball as his last opportunity disintegrated.
That first frame of the session looked to be a fluke as the current World champion missed another golden opportunity to start a break, synonymous with the way he played in the afternoon. A remarkable moment then saw Selby snooker himself and open up the frame for Higgins who once again took full advantage. Yet the Scotsman was in a more forgiving mood just before the break as a missed pink allowed Selby to draw level in the session.
The defending champion comes to life towards the end of the evening
Higgins showed his tactical prowess in the first frame after the mid-session interval as he scratched his way to half the required frames needed to become champion. The Scotsman then turned safety into scoring as he made 76 with a couple of plants along the way to hit double figures.
After half an hour without potting, Selby showed the character that has helped him to World number one and compiled an admirable break of 81. He then underpinned that vital success with his first century of the final as he made an excellent 121 under the circumstances. Breaks of 47 and 50 sandwiched a wild shot of frustration from Higgins in what could be a pivotal final frame of the session come Monday evening.