Published: Mon, May 01, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

John Higgins clinches victory over Barry Hawkins to reach final

Wilson fell at the same stage to Mark Selby a year ago, and admits it felt a lot like groundhog day against Higgins.

Chinese superstar Ding Jinhui produced stunning snooker on Friday to roar back into contention for a second successive world championship final appearance as he was tied 12-12 with defending champion Mark Selby.

"He hasn't been to a final for a few years now and needs to have the stamina". I play with more confidence and more aggressively. "I knew that that was my chance and if I didn't take it I think the match would have gone away from me".

Higgins - a four-time Crucible champion - came into this match as the underdog against last year's victor, but a fourth-frame break of 141 sparked a period of control that put daylight between the two players.

Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

Explaining his raucous reaction, Selby said: "It was more a relief than anything else".

"I'm very proud to be in my sixth world final, and it's a great feeling to be going for my fifth world title", said the 41-year-old Scot.

"When I had my chance there I was taking a little bit longer over my shots than I normally would, but I knew if I didn't win the frame at that visit it would have got away from me", Selby said.

"The adrenaline was pumping and I can not wait for the final".

And his efforts to come through that high-quality match were a likely factor in his slow start against Higgins, who disregarded his opponent's struggles and focused on developing as commanding a lead as possible.

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"The tip I had on before was more or less fine and it made a rock-hard sound".

Selby can claim his third world title and has cruised through the early rounds of the competition.

The final is a replay, a decade on, of their 2007 final meeting, when Higgins saw off a 23-year-old Selby who was far from the finished article he is today.

"So you need to be able to scrap it out and I've shown in the past I can do that".

"It's roles reversed", Higgins said.

"I'm disappointed to lose when I played well, but sometimes you have to take it, because it is sport".

Four-time former champion Higgins, who is the oldest finalist since 49-year-old Ray Reardon lost to Alex Higgins in 1982, had predicted before the match began that Selby could one day match a World Championship record.

"Before I missed the blue in the last frame I thought I was going to level at 16-all, but sadly that didn't happen".

"I will be back next year".

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