John Higgins came from 7-4 down to level at 8-8 with Kurt Maflin going into the final session of their Betfred World Championship second round match.
A fabulous session at the Crucible saw Higgins become the first player to make a 147 at the Crucible since 2012, and set up a blockbuster conclusion to the last 16 tie tonight. Qualifier Maflin has been ahead for most of the match but can’t shake off a determined opponent. First to 13 frames goes through to the quarter-finals.
The first two frames today were shared, then Norway’s Maflin made a break of 97 to lead 7-4. Scotland’s Higgins made his perfect break in frame 12, potting 15 reds with blacks and clearing the colours to make it 7-5 at the interval.
In frame 13, Higgins made a trademark 55 clearance to pull within one frame, before Maflin gave himself daylight again with a run of 81 for 8-6. Four-time Crucible king Higgins, who has lost in the last three finals, made a 71 to take frame 15.
In the last frame of the session, Maflin led 66-8, but could only sit in his chair as Higgins knocked in a long red to initiate a brilliant 63 clearance, highlighted by a superb pot on the last red to a baulk corner. They resume at 7pm.
On the other table, Noppon Saengkham came from 3-1 down to lead Mark Selby 5-3 at the end of their first session. Thailand’s Saengkham knocked out Shaun Murphy in the first round and has his sights set on another major scalp.
After losing the first frame, three-time World Champion Selby knocked in breaks of 84, 70 and 201 to lead 3-1. But the tide turned after the interval as Saengkham fired 76, 122 and 64 to go 4-3 up. Selby led 48-11 in the last frame of the session, only for Saengkham to clear with 50. They resume at 7pm for eight more frames.
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