London (AFP) – Mark Williams, boosted by a late night kebab, led John Higgins by 10-7 after the opening day of the world snooker championship final in Sheffield.
Williams went into the final on the back of a tardy finish to his tense semi-final win over Barry Hawkins on Saturday followed by a visit to a kebab house at 0130 GMT.
The two-time former world champion from Wales recharged his batteries with a couple of hours sleep to return to the table to get the upper hand over Scotland’s Higgins on Sunday.
Higgins, who made an amateurish error to gift Williams the closing frame, can take heart from 12 months ago when he led Mark Selby by the same margin before the world number one battled back to win the title 18-15.
Higgins is making his seventh appearance in the sport’s showpiece match and is just one title behind Ronnie O’Sullivan’s title haul of five with only Stephen Hendry and Steve Davis lifting more trophies at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre.
Both players are aiming to become the oldest champion since Ray Reardon triumphed in 1978 at the age of 45 – Williams is at 43 one year older than Higgins who won his first title in 1998.
For Williams his progress to the final caps a remarkable late-career revival. He did not even qualify in 2017, and last reached the final 15 years ago, when he defeated Ken Doherty.
He nearly retired last year and did not win a ranking title for six years, but Williams has already won two tournaments this season.
He won the title in 2000 and 2003.
The final resumes Monday at 1300 GMT.