World Snooker Championship Final Preview : Legends Battle it Out for the Title
Event Venue: The Crucible, Sheffield, Sunday 6 and Monday 7 May. Live on BBC and Eurosport.See Stats
It's the final of the World Snooker Championship and two players in their 40s will battle it out on Sunday and Monday. Our preview looks ahead to the final between John Higgins and Mark Williams.
Higgins Bids for Title Number Five
They say that snooker is a young man's game these days but Higgins and Williams are proving that to be a very wrong statement. Just like his opponent, it looked as if the days of John Higgins winning major titles had come to and end. His position in the top sixteen was in danger and he had that ban to serve, the one commentators never seem to mention these days. The past couple of seasons though have seen him turn his career around with two world finals and several world ranking titles including two this season and the Championship League.
Higgins lost to Mark Selby in the final of this tournament last year and seemed to get tired in the latter stages. He's had two tough games against Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson this year but hasn't been showing signs of tiredness and had last night off as Williams battled against Hawkins. Higgins got an early lead against Wilson in the semi-final and every time his opponent closed the gap to one frame, Higgins extended it again to stay in charge of the game. His potting, break-building and tactical play make him a strong favourite to win this match, especially if getting an early lead.
Williams Bids to Make History
A 15-year gap between titles is unprecedented at the Crucible but that's what Mark Williams attempts to do on Sunday and Monday. Since that title win his career has been up and down and only a couple of seasons ago he was seriously considering retiring from the game. He's dropped out of the top sixteen a few times but battled his way back in and will be a top three ranked player if beating Higgins in the final.
Not all of his play at the Crucible this year has been that of a world title winner and he struggled to impress in the second round against Robert Milkins but did well to beat Ali Carter in the last eight. He was behind for most of his semi-final against Barry Hawkins, only getting the upperhand in the final session. It wasn't too late a finish so at least he won't be too tired as has been the case in some finals in previous years.
The high breaks haven't been flowing too much in recent games with his highest break last night being just 60 but he's one of the most solid snooker players out there and this match should see a fair few tactical exchanges. Barry Hearn may be talking of naming and shaming slow players but doesn't realize how it's often the longer frames that are the most thrilling and that could well be the order of the day for this final.
Current odds for Mark Williams to beat John Higgins are 11/8 with Paddy Power (18+ Ts & Cs Apply)
This should be a great final and one that could well go down to the last few frames before the winner is decided. Both players have been in good form throughout the tournament and unlike last year, This preview concludes that Higgins doesn't seem to be running out of gas. The Scottish great can make it five world title wins but Williams is likely to make him work very hard for it.
Get odds of 8/13 on John Higgins to beat Mark Williams with Betfair (18+ Ts & Cs Apply)
- Mark Williams has won the title twice, his last win being in 2003
- John Higgins has won the title four times, the last win being in 2011
- This is the first time Williams has made the final since his last title win 15 years ago.
- Higgins lost in the final last year, the last player to lose two successive finals is Jimmy White in the 1990s.
- Williams is already the World six-red Champion and is a former World Seniors Champion
- The pair have only met once this season with Higgins beating Williams 3-2 in the Championship League
- They met four times last season both winning twice
- Williams didn't even qualify for the Crucible last season.
- It's the first final that doesn't feature an English player since 2010 when Neil Robertson beat Graeme Dott
Get odds of x on x with Betfair (18+ Ts & Cs Apply)
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