John Higgins 7-10 Mark Williams: Hungry Williams holds the advantage midway through World Championship final

The Welshman is playing in his first Crucible final for 15 years.

John Higgins 7-10 Mark Williams: Hungry Williams holds the advantage midway through World Championship final
Williams is looking for his third Crucible crown (photo: Getty Images / Linnea Rheborg)

Mark Williams holds a 10-7 overnight advantage against John Higgins, despite not going to bed until the early hours of the morning after his tense semi-final victory over Barry Hawkins.

Fuelled by fast food and sugary snacks

Williams tweeted at 2:15am saying he was enjoying a kebab and chips from the local takeaway, despite stating he "needs a good night of sleep" and "would lose 18-0 to Higgins if he played again now" after the late victory over Hawkins which concluded just before midnight.

The two-time world champion opened up an early 4-0 advantage without ever really hitting top gear. Higgins misses a series of chances whilst Williams was able to keep notching tallies against his name, energised by a snack of chocolate and sweets after frame two, a treat for an impressive triple plant in the second and potting a pink with his eyes closed in the third. Higgins made a half-century in the fourth before Williams stole the frame on the colours before the mid-session interval.

That break proved to be crucial for the Scotsman as he recomposed to manufacture a 119 and finally get off the mark. Williams responded with 95 to go 5-1 ahead and already the end of the session looked critical despite so many frames still to be played in this battle of the veterans.

Yet Higgins ensured the contest would remain tightly poised, formulating 46 and then 52 in frame seven before winning a scrappy final frame of the session with another half-century break.

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Higgins fights back before late Williams rally

The duo started the evening period with numerous errors before a clearance of 72 from Williams created a sense of deja-vu for the Scotsman at the start of the session. Yet Higgins finally found some luck as more missed chances from the duo fell in the favour of the four-time world champion, taking frame ten with a break of 51, before a similar story unfolded in the eleventh with Higgins producing an impressive 127 to move within one frame of the Welshman.

The 6-5 scoreline was synonymous with how little there was to choose between the world number five and world number seven. At that point, Williams had potted just one more ball in the whole competition than Higgins as he prepared for his 100th frame of the competition, just two more than his higher-ranked opponent. Yet that century proved lucky for Williams who took advantage of a missed red by Higgins to extend his lead once again.

Both players had struggled with their long potting, particularly Higgins who was scoring at 38% before frame 13. Yet it was a long miss from Williams before a distant pot from Higgins that set the Scotsman up for a winning break of 56 before drawing level for the first time in the contest with a contribution of 117 after an unfortunate in-off from the Welshman.

After winning just three of the last ten frames, Williams had to issue a response and he did just that with breaks of 118 and 64 after Higgins missed a straightforward black mid-break in the latter. The last frame again looked to be an important one in the context of the final and it was Williams who cleared up after Higgins inadvertently potted the brown to go 10-7 ahead overnight.