John Higgins and Mark Williams commence their mouth-watering second-round showdown at the 2021 World Championship on Friday.
The most enticing clash of round two gets underway at the Crucible between two members of the ‘Class of 92’, who boast a combined seven World crowns and 54 ranking titles.
This will be the first time the decorated duo lock horns in a ranking event since their memorable encounter in the 2018 final, which Williams won 18-16 to complete a hat-trick of successes in Sheffield.
The Welshman has enjoyed the better of the Crucible meetings; prevailing in three of the previous four, with Higgins’ sole victory coming courtesy of a 17-15 success in the 2011 semi-final.
Higgins is looking to avert a second successive exit at this stage of the tournament, having lost 13-11 here to Kurt Maflin last year despite making his first 147 at snooker’s blue-riband event.
Appearing at the Crucible for a 27th consecutive year – moving him joint-second with Stephen Hendry on the all-time list behind Ronnie O’Sullivan – the four-time World champion was far from his brilliant best against Tian Pengfei in the first round.
However, he did demonstrate his trademark grit and determination by recovering from 7-4 down to prevail 10-7.
The Scotsman produced arguably the best snooker of his career on the way to capturing the Players Championship title in February, and must match those performance levels to stand the best possible chance of landing a fifth Crucible crown.
Williams also arrived in Sheffield having recently lifted a trophy, having been the last man standing at the conclusion of the inaugural Pro Series earlier this month.
The three-time winner is aiming to reach his 10th World Championship quarter-final in 23 appearances.
Despite leading 6-2, Williams was beaten 13-10 by eventual champion Ronnie O’Sullivan last year, and would love another crack at appearing in the one-table set-up this time around.
The match will be contested over the best of 25 frames, with the winner playing either Mark Selby or Mark Allen in the quarter-finals.
Play gets underway from 2.30pm BST on Friday for a total of eight frames, before resuming at 10am on Saturday and playing to a conclusion at 7pm that evening.
The match will be available to watch live on desktop, mobile or tablet devices in the UK and various other regions worldwide.
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