John Higgins coasts towards World Championship Quarter-Finals as Lisowski leads Robertson
John Higgins stormed to within two frames of a place in the World Championship Quarter-Finals on Sunday, while Jack Lisowski enjoyed a superb second session at The Crucible.
Higgins had seen his early 4-1 lead erased by Noppon Saengkham – who levelled the match at four apiece – but the Scot dominated the evening session by securing seven of the eight frames to surge 11-5 ahead.
Four-time World Champion Higgins made breaks of 59, 82 and 90 en route to a 4-1 advantage, but a fired-up Saengkham gave a fist pump after replying with three in a row for parity at the end of the morning session.
That reaction appeared to spark Higgins back into life when the pair returned in the evening, with the 46-year-old taking frame nine before landing his first century of the match with a 125 break to lead 6-4.
He then punished numerous unforced errors from the Thai qualifier over the next five frames, adding breaks of 60, 69 and 100 to move within two of the winning line.
Saengkham did, however, stop the rot in frame 16 but faces a mountain to climb when he returns for the concluding session on Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, number 14 seed Lisowski produced a spell-binding second session to open up a 9-7 lead over 2010 World Champion and pre-tournament favourite Neil Robertson.
The pair came into the second session locked level at four-all, but it was Lisowski who hit the ground running with successive breaks of 119 and 122 to move two ahead.
Robertson replied with a break of 60 in frame 11, and after the two left-handers had exchanged frames 12 and 13, Lisowski crashed in a terrific break of 137 to make it 86.
The six-time ranking event finalist extended his lead with a break of 74 in the following frame, before Robertson hit back with a 69 break to stay in touch and set up a fascinating final session.
Kyren Wilson and Stuart Bingham are set for a nail-biting climax on Day Ten in Sheffield with nothing to separate them at 8-8 after two sessions.
Bingham, World Champion in 2015, had established a 5-3 lead despite high breaks of 81 and 103 from Wilson, but the 2020 runner-up reversed that scoreline in the evening to restore parity.
Bingham began the evening with a 78 break but only for Wilson to hit back immediately with a 75 to trail 6-4.
The next two frames were shared before Bingham produced a 104 break for his first century of the match, but Wilson responded strongly with three frames in a row to get back on level terms.
Breaks of 66 and 59 saw him claw back to within one, and he looked to be on course for a maximum in frame 16, only to miss the 13th red and break down on 96.
Judd Trump pulled clear from four apiece to lead 2020 semi-finalist Anthony McGill 10-6 going into their decisive session on Monday.
The 2019 World Champion remained below his brilliant best for much of the afternoon, with top breaks of 52 and 79 to his name, but dug deep to create clear daylight between the pair.
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World Snooker Championship – Day Nine Scores
Sunday April 24
Judd Trump 10-6 Anthony McGill
Neil Robertson 7-9 Jack Lisowski
Kyren Wilson 8-8 Stuart Bingham
John Higgins 11-5 Noppon Saengkham