Higgins takes overnight lead over Murphy in snooker final
Published 04/05/2009 | 00:00
John Higgins edged ahead of Shaun Murphy in the World Snooker Championship final as he looked to develop a handsome overnight lead.
The two-time former champion won four of the evening's opening five frames to steam into an 8-5 lead.
He went to the mid-session interval on the back of a break of 95, his highest in the early stages of the match.
With four frames remaining on the first day of the final, pre-match favourite Higgins had the chance to establish control.
He and Murphy had been locked at 4-4 after the opening afternoon session and at that stage the close contest which had been widely predicted looked to be materialising.
Higgins made a bright start with a break of 78 in the opening frame, and further runs of 33, 52 and 43 allowed him to develop a 3-0 lead.
Murphy was in-form and reeled off the next four frames, with breaks of 58, 46, 41 and 109, but Higgins responded with a 50 which set him up to win the next.
Murphy's first-session century was the 81st of this year's World Championship, with the previous tournament record of 68 having been obliterated.
That has led to questions about the playing conditions, with suggestions the jaws of the pockets are more helpful to the players than ever.