John Higgins 7-10 Mark Williams

Judd Trump can't look as Higgins sinks another ball

John Higgins 7-10 Mark Williams

Two-time champion Mark Williams opened up a surprise 5-3 lead over four-time victor John Higgins in the final of the World Championship in Sheffield.

Coming out of a tight battle against Barry Hawkins in last night's semi-final, Williams revealed how he was celebrating his first ascent to a final in 15 years.

Mark Williams and John Higgins have both spoken ahead of the World Snooker Championship final.

The World Championship's financial value to players has steadily increased in the last decade after the WPBSA's total offering briefly dipped below the £1m mark in 2005 and 2006 following the loss of tobacco sponsorship.

The Scot looked in disbelief at a shot that cost him the frame as Wilson pinned him back to 7-6.

They were hailed as "gladiators" by O'Sullivan, with whom Williams and Higgins joined the professional ranks in 1992.

It seemed to help as Williams - who contemplated retiring past year after a poor run of form - punished the Scot for uncharacteristic errors to gain a slender 5-3 advantage after the first session.

Williams' appearance in the final caps a remarkable turnaround for the Welshman. "I haven't felt that nervous since I beat Stephen Hendry on a re-spotted black in the (1998) Masters final".

Higgins explained on his rival: "I don't feel like the favourite".

"He's bald and I'm grey now, so it is a brilliant final! I'm sure he'll do big, big things here in the future".

"I used to get stick for that. It would be unbelievable to match Ronnie as well - he's the best player ever in my eyes, so if I got to the same number of titles, it would be an incredible feeling".

He was looking for a better outcome than a year ago when he surged 10-4 clear of Mark Selby and had the title in his crosshairs before running out of steam. I've grown up with John, played him in all the tournaments, and now we're in the final of the World Championship.

Higgins said: "I'm so proud that 20 years after I won my first world title I'm sitting here ready to compete in another final". It is a fantastic feeling.

"Hopefully if it goes close towards the end I won't collapse like a cheap tent again", said Williams.

"We'll need to see how the first day of this final goes".

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