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John Higgins v Mark Williams: World Snooker Championship 2018 Final preview - Clash of 92 in Crucible climax

John Higgins of Scotland and Mark Williams of Wales look on (credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Two of snooker’s finest over 40s vie to restore their former glories in a fascinating World Championship final at The Crucible as four-time champion John Higgins takes on two-time winner Mark Williams.

The decorated duo, who both turned professional back in 1992, have rolled back the years to defy the sands of time and move to the verge of a historic triumph in Sheffield.

For one, they will become the oldest World Champion since Ray Reardon lifted this iconic trophy as a 45-year-old back in 1978.

Scottish star Higgins is appearing in his seventh World Championship final, 20 years after his first - in which he defeated Ken Doherty 18-12 to claim the title as a fresh-faced 22-year-old.

The Wishaw ace claimed his 30th career ranking title at the Welsh Open in March and has once again produced some of his vintage best form to reach a second successive world final.

He began his run with a 10-7 victory over Thai debutant Thepchaiya Un-Nooh before thrashing Jack Lisowski 13-1 with a session to spare in the Second Round.

Higgins then secured his Semi-Final spot courtesy of a thrilling deciding-frame win over Judd Trump after he had recovered from 7-3 down before overcoming Kyren Wilson 17-13 in an epic battle.

Higgins looks on during his clash with Williams in 2011 (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Williams, meanwhile, finds himself in a first World Championship final for 15 years after continuing his remarkable renaissance this season in which he has produced arguably the best snooker of his career.

The reigning Northern Ireland Open and German Masters champion is now vying for his 21 career ranking title as he bids to join an illustrious group of ten players to have won three or more world titles.

World ranked number six, Williams comfortably dispatched Jimmy Robertson 10-7 in Round One, before defeating Robert Milkins 13-7 and Ali Carter 13-8 in the Quarter-Finals.

Williams then held his nerve to deny Barry Hawkins 17-15 in a breath-taking Semi-Final which finished close to midnight on Saturday and now faces a test of mind and body over four gruelling sessions if he is to go all the way.

This will be the 43rd competitive meeting between the two snooker stalwarts, with Higgins having won 22 of their previous encounters to Williams' 18, in addition to two Premier League draws.

Williams has prevailed in their two most recent encounters and notably triumphed 17-10 in their first Crucible meting in the 1999 Semi-Finals before repeating the dose in the Semis a year later with an epic 17-15 victory, though Higgins exacted his revenge 11 years later with a 17-14 win at the Last Four stage.

Their latest encounter will be contested over the best of 35 frames and gets underway from 2pm on Sunday before resuming at 7pm that evening and 2pm on Monday, before being played to a finish from 7pm that evening at the Crucible Threate in Sheffield.

Player's View:


Higgins: "Last year was a massive defeat for me but to come back here and make the final again is great.

"There's plenty left. I won't be playing anyone like Mark Selby in the final but it'll be one of two unbelievable players.

"I can't wait, I had an unbelievable time last year and whatever happens, I'll just enjoy it."

Williams: "It's just unbelievable how after 25 years of turning pro together we're now fighting for the title in 2018.

"I'm 43 years of age and in the final of the World Championship, I couldn't have dreamt it 12 months ago.

"Fatigue will probably kick in at some point but the adrenaline will kick on.

"I think it's probably a final a lot of people would have wanted."


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John Higgins v Mark Williams: World Snooker Championship 2018 Final preview - Clash of 92 in Crucible climax

Two of snooker’s finest over 40s vie to restore their former glories in a fascinating World Championship final at The Crucible as four-time champion John Higgins takes on two-time winner Mark Williams.

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