Day 15, Semi-Finals, Morning Session Snooker: World Championship

Day 15, Semi-Finals, Morning Session

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Good morning. This 40th anniversary championship from the Crucible


Theatre was given the big build-up and it certainly lived up to


expectations. It's the final push this weekend. Stand by as four


becomes two. In the closing stages of the semifinals. Stand by for a


snooker Festival over the next three days. It's what the bank of the


weekend was made for. -- bank holiday.


This afternoon from 2:30pm, reigning champion Mark Selby has nine frames


to keep his defence on track. He is 12-12 against Ding. The fireworks


have been overshadowed in a more nervous and fragmented affair


between former champion John Higgins and Barry Hawkins. So, Stephen


Hendry, 15 days of long nights and matches and adrenaline and getting


tired. That's just the broadcasters! In the first semifinal, they look


like they are peaking, in the second one, a little bit of wilting going


on. Let's talk about Ding and Selby. That session, how good was it? One


of the best in Crucible history. Selby through the sink at this guy.


This is one of the best shots I've ever seen. Ding had to go about


level and he really impressed me. I didn't think he had it in me to


produce two centuries but he did, back to back. What do you think


produce this mental strength? Perhaps it's working with Terry


Griffiths. He was Serena in his chair when Mark Selby was playing.


That is going to be a blockbuster for session coming up at 2:30pm.


This morning, John Higgins. Yesterday he changed the tip of his


cue. I wonder what he's searching for. He has always tinkered. If he


is not happy, he's not going to play well. Neither player has settled


well in this semifinal. Very surprisingly. If you're going to win


the championship, you need to get better as the tournament goes on.


They have stood still. Today could be different. It's the day they can


get into the final. John Higgins is very experienced. Barry Hawkins has


been here as well as. What needs to happen for John Higgins in terms of


his level? He needs to win the first session 3-1. 2-2 is no good. --


Barry Hawkins. John 's Higgins could win it this morning. John Higgins


first played here as a 19-year-old and became world champion within


three years. He played another final in 01, losing to O'Sullivan. He


waited until 2007 to become world champion again against a very young


Mark Selby. He was there again in 2011. He hasn't been back since. It


is 20 years since Barry Hawkins first tried to qualify. Only at the


tenth attempted he set foot on this stage. Five first-round defeats in a


row. Not a stunning -- but a stunning run to the final in 2013


when he lost to Ronnie O'Sullivan. Raring to go in the commentary box,


Willie Thorne and Dennis Taylor. Make a case for Barry Hawkins this


morning? Stephen Hendry said, he has to win the first mini-session 3-1 to


get a foothold in the match. John Higgins isn't playing brilliantly.


If he had a chance to get to another final, this is it. John did well to


win the last two frames. I can't remember John Higgins playing 16


frames and not making a century. Very unlike him. To win the last two


frames was a boost. He has to think, if I can share the sessions, I'm in


the final. We will leave you at home to be the judge as we introduced the


players. They are all set for a mammoth Saturday with likely to


sessions to play. The arena weights and so too does MC Rob Walker. Good


morning ladies and gentlemen. This is the day that we complete the


line-up for the World Snooker Championship final. Today, this


famous old theatre really does become the arena of sporting dreams.


Please welcome a player with a brilliant Crucible record in recent


years, making four out of the last five semifinals. He won his first


ranking final in 2012 and hasn't looked back. Winner of this season's


world Grand Prix in Preston, a brilliant left-hander, now firmly


established amongst the game's elite. Here comes the Hawk... Barry


Hawkins! And his opponent, a player who has


once more arrived on the sport's biggest stage. Back in the first


time in six years, he won his first ranking title of 28 in 1995 and his


first world title three years later. One of Scotland's finest sportsmen.


The Wizard of Wishaw... John Higgins!


It's time to sort it all out. Willie and Dennis are with you.


COMMENTATOR: Thank you very much. A huge session coming up. Barry


Hawkins could do with winning 3-1 in the mini-session here. Frame 17. Ari


Hawkins to break. Always important to get a good break. That is not a


good break. He's hampered with the green. I don't think I've ever seen


a break of shot when you hit the blue and then the green. That might


be a first. That was a great effort considering


he was cueing right over the top of the green. Big targets now the green


for Barry Hawkins. We can see that John Higgins was very close. But


with the cream of its spot, it -- with the green off its spot, it's a


massive target. Look at that. Wonderful site.


Crucible Theatre, semifinals day. Can't beat it.


This is a better line. Has it got the pace? Still a good shot but not


a snooker. The match last night between Ding Junhui and Mark Selby,


I've never seen anything like it. 18 minutes without a ball potted and


then Mark Selby made a century break. Usually, after 18 minutes,


all of the colours have gone safe. It was amazing. That's how good the


quality of play was. I hope it'll be the same this morning.


That's one way of getting the cue ball up the table. A bit of good


fortune there. At any sport, you need a little bit of luck now and


again. Goes a long way. Don't know whether he can hit this


thin enough to get back into baulk. Just playing a slow roll up. A


containing safety shot. Didn't find the baulk crush on this


time. So Barry may take this on. This is a real test of your cue


action. Beautiful. Terrific cueing. Could have done with just bringing


the white back a fuel more inches. Running slightly away from the reds.


Two are available into the right corner. The white is going up past


the blue spot area. He'd like to take that one again. He's covered


those two reds with the blue. So, that's end of break. We'll have to


try to get back behind the green. Feels he can find a path around the


back of the black, if he takes this on. And, well,... What a result


there. He was playing to get around the back of the black. They weren't


quite on for a plant but the black very close to going in. It of good


fortune to finish on the black there. He's got the perfect angle to


go into the bunch but seems a bit reluctant to do that. You think he'd


have to go into a bunch at pace. Yes he did. He needs a good click here,


otherwise he's nowhere. That's very unfortunate. Very unlucky. He's


hampered on one read to the middle but that one there, if he can cue to


the side, he might be able to take that one on. John Higgins, eight.


Amazing how neither player has got his A-game in this semifinal. Barry


Hawkins not been to a final for a couple of years. John Higgins trying


to get there for the first time. Both players very tentative. The


shot that you called to cannon into the reds, he was on the key to open


them up like that and not finish nicely on one. It's a very tricky


one. Looking to the left middle pocket. One will go into the left


corner. No. In fact, he didn't want to know about a pot. I don't blame


him there. Two reds he could have had a go at, wasn't guaranteed. Good


position. With the reds open like this. One stake and the frame could


be over. -- one mistake. Barry Hawkins has played a very good


safety shot there. Maybe forced into taking this pot on. No, he's decided


against it. I wonder if Barry Hawkins will take the pot on. If the


red hadn't gone next to the black, he might well have done. The red


going next to the black is properly going to stop it. This will be some


short. Everything seems to be covered in to


the left middle pocket. Can he get past the black? I don't think so. To


pot that read. Can't see enough of that. There is one he can get


through to the middle pocket. An edgy start from both players here.


Quite understandable. Got very close to the last long pot.


This one is easier. He's played up for the blue. If he gets on the red


to the left of the black, it is a frame-winning opportunity. Probably


can't do that on fifth blue but... The pace is good for the one in the


middle but he'd like to get on to the black.


Couldn't ask for the balls to be any better here in this first frame of a


very important session. Played for the red that Willie mentioned. That


just gets it out of the way. Just coming round to see if he can


get to the potting angle of the red that is nearest. Once he gets rid of


those, all the avenues to the pockets are in the clear. He will


just pushed the red slightly towards the red on the side question and


that will clear the pockets now. An excellent chance of winning the


first frame of the session. Needs a delicate little positional


shot here. He has hit that a little bit too


hard. He didn't want this kind of angle on the pink. We'll have to


screw back of the cushion. A lot of Czech side on their two strain it


up. This is not bound to go right. He may kiss the red fall ball. Now


he is playing with bottom to screw back. It's gone wrong. The fact that


the green off its spot helps this shot. He can go around the back of


the green. Looks to have regained position.


Thought it would be a lot more difficult with the green on its


spot. Because he went right over the spot on the last positional shot.


His demeanour is a lot better this morning than it was in the last


session yesterday when he looked all at sea. Not the best contact.


Just jumped slightly there and took the pays out of the cue ball. --


pace. Now he's got to try and get to the blue. Is it going to cannon onto


the rednecks to the pink? He'd like to avoid that.


He could just avoid the cannon. Warm or good shot and Barry will have


this opening frame of the session. -- one more good shot. That looks


pretty good. He might have to use the rest. If he was to get this red


and a black, he'd be in pretty good shape. He'd be 60 in front with the


red and the black with just 59 on. Just the start that Barry was


looking for. John had a couple of chances. He should have clipped the


red into the middle pocket. That was a great chance for him. Missed it.


Barry can relax now. APPLAUSE The stats sometimes don't actually


tell the truth. Barry is in front of every start. The only thing he's


missing is the pot success. That tells the story. Barry is not


scoring the 40 and 50 breaks early on. He is out playing him in most


departments. He seems to be getting either 30 or 80. He doesn't get the


50-60 breaks that put the opponent on the back foot.


John signals to the referee and concedes the frame.


Just the start that Barry Hawkins required. Will there be a hangover


from yesterday or will it be a brand-new start? I think today will


be different. They have had a very slow start to the semifinal, one


session per day. It will seem like it has dragged on. Now, they can


finish it today. It was a perfect start for Barry. He's got to do that


this morning and really pal pressure on John Higgins. He's never looked


easy this final. He has really got to smell blood and go for the


throat. John Higgins has changed the tip of his cue. I wonder how long it


will take him to settle. How long will it take to get the measure? You


need to get a 60-70 break to ease the pressure, or make a long pot.


Until you do that, there is doubt in the back of your mind. This tip


feels different. How's it going to work out? But find out.


COMMENTATOR: All he has to do is share the sessions and John is in


the final. He'll be looking for at least two in this mini-session.


I thought he could have a free pot at that and wouldn't leave anything.


He's left the red near the middle. Just skewed slightly across that


one. Over the black, it is tough to get


the white away from the pocket, is having to dig down on it as you can


see. That is a good shot. The perfect angle to go into the pink.


There's one at the back end to the left that is available. But he


usually goes into them the first chance he gets. Maybe there's a


plant at the back as well. Maybe he spotted the two reds, yes, in line


for the pocket. Just means he has got to get good position again. To


go into the pink. One of the red is available. -- one of the red is


available. This is a slightly more difficult


pack to go into than it was from the blue. A lot of side and a lot of top


spin. No, he's played for that red that I mentioned and now that he has


finished short on it, he can open the pack that way, there are


different ways of going about getting the pack open. This was


John's choice and if this works out, he has got lots of reds in play.


Excellent. He has brought at least three reds into portable positions.


That the match yesterday and Stephen Hendry was saying if one player


plays well, it's burst the other on, and that is and has been -- spurs


the other. Yes, Stephen Hendry in the studio


was talking and only four frames in the match has a player won one frame


in one visit and that is the important part of these matches, it


takes a lot of pressure off yourself if you win a frame in one visit. It


has only happened four times in 17 frames.


This is the only red that is available. He will be looking for


another cannon. He does not want to be straight on the black, that is


careless. He stopped in his tracks and he has a look at the angle he


has left himself and it is not good. He might be able to power this in


with a lot of top spin. He's striking the cue ball right on the


top to send it off two cushions into the reds, it will not be easy to


develop any here. The shot on the black was careless. A little bit


surprised he did not generate very much top spin. The white came off at


normal pace. When they powered them in with side like Selby or


O'Sullivan when they get the top spin going, they go in with a lot of


speed. He did not generate a lot of speed.


John Higgins, 42. Barry might be tempted here to take this red into


the right corner. He could get on the black. He would have to play


it... He would have to play a great shot, a lot of scrum and side. He


will take on the fact he's 42 behind. This would be some shot if


he pots and gets it for the black. That was a good attempt, but he did


not get the cue ball where he wanted. He will be up behind the


green and pink. You would think. I don't think he can get behind the


green and pink from this one. Very clever. He could have got in behind


the green and pink off the red on the right side of the table, but he


left it and he played a safety shot and he pushed another red safe. That


was clever thinking. Which always have said he's one of the best


snooker brains in the game and he proved it. Yes, it just shows how


bad my defensive thoughts are! I thought to get behind the green.


Well played by John Higgins and he has another two reds saved, forcing


Barry Hawkins to play that shot. Well, he has got away with that. He


got the old red with a double-kiss and I think he would have been very


concerned when he saw this red coming up the cushion and making


contact with the white, because he has been very fortunate.


Well, he wants to play off the thin one, but he would be pushing that


red towards the corner. You can't get into was a colour playing the


way he's doing now but he can get into trouble if he placed tight off


that cushion. And that's not good. You could see his reaction, he was


pushing the cue through afterwards as if to say, I did not cue that


very well. That was interesting. Just watch after he plays the shot,


watch what he does. Look, he did not hit it hard enough.


And I think Barry knew that was coming, that is why he reacted the


way he did. You have got to get that cue ball near the cushion, not the


baulk line. He has come up just a little bit short, another six inches


and he would have had a very easy shot to get back to the five reds


just above the black. This is good. This is excellent.


That is a frame when. -- winner. Yes, a lot of talk about Mark


Selby's tip in the opening frame they played yesterday against Ding,


but he's played two shots that shows me he's very happy with his tip. The


first red was a stunning run, and that shot round the angles, he has


obviously spent a lot of time knocking that tip in. I think our


own John Parrott put the tip on for John. Can you believe it? I mean,


that is incredible. He slipped back into what he was doing a couple of


seasons ago. He looked a world beater. And then all of a sudden, he


does something like this. That is just amazing. Look, as he hangs his


head. That is a lapse in concentration. That is four black


Sea has missed off this spot. How costly is that going to be? That was


very careless. The miss four in one match is amazing he's in front. --


missing four in one match, it is amazing he's in front.


Barry Hawkins will be buzzing inside at this moment because if he can


pinch this frame, it may take a while for John Higgins to get it out


of his mind. As Dennis said, that was a frame-winner, and it was. I


think that is one of the easiest blacks I have ever seen anyone


missing. There's a little bit of work to do


with this cue ball. Obviously, the black is nice and easy, but can he


get the white away from the cushion? Close to the pocket, it is sometimes


hard to generate the speed. And that is the prime example. And he can


afford to be another two feet further up the table, so overhit


rather than underhit. So he has not punished John Higgins so John


Higgins may forget that black very quickly.


John can get back down the table and is looking at the two reds. He


played the safety shot but might get close to planting those reds even


though there's quite a distance between them. Just a safety shot,


but a chance he could pull this off. And he has hit it far too thick.


That is a terrible safety shot from John. He played some yesterday like


that where he just was not getting the cue ball past the baulk line.


You see him rubbing his eyes a little bit and he did that in


yesterday's session. Do you think sometimes you can want it too much,


Dennis? And all of a sudden, you lose your form? If you try too hard,


it can affect your game. I tell you what, this man is giving his all


here. He wants to get back in another final. But if he keeps


making mistakes like that... Barry Hawkins could quickly get right back


into this semifinal. A delicate little cannon here. He


could get round the back, that was even better, rather than risking


pushing the red, just slide round the back of it. It is all about that


red that is near the cushion. He's already looking to see that he could


pot the red, but a risk trying to move a red when potting a red,


always better doing it off colour. So it looks as though that it is


planned -- plan, to get off this red and scanning the other out. Only


problem is, sometimes you can leave the cue ball near a cushion. He's


going to need a good cannon on this difficult red to bring the white


away from the cushion also. Oh, he has missed the cannon. Did


not look possible, I think he was trying to hit it and did not give it


enough. I don't like to be rude, Dennis, that was on missable.


Amazing miss. Just over the six hours.


Just ten points behind, who would have thought that, John Higgins?


Should have been in the next frame, he should have had a four frame


advantage gained. And if he does not get this safe, his advantage could


cut the two frames. I was just saying the Dennis Taylor,


a very strange frame. Four golden chances, two from each. If Barry


could quit this in the left-hand corner and not cannon into the green


all the brown or going off, he would take it on, but that's not on. So a


safety shot right behind the black spot. He's so good with the rest.


He's so good with the rest. He's a little unlucky because I don't think


the brown goes past the black. But what a fantastic shot with the rest


that was, the brown into the middle. That is awkward. 87% success with


the rest. Oh, Barry! What a golden chance! Well, Barry has had three


golden chances now to win this frame. And John Higgins now we'll


forget about that black because even though he was only nine points in


front, this should be no problem at all in potting these four colours to


leave snookers required. He's going to need green, brown and blue. And


he will be able to raise that easy black that he missed off the spot.


-- to erase. In the Barry Hawkins camp, I would be very perturbed


because he's four frames behind now and he knows he should be only two.


It was workmanlike from John Higgins in this frame. At this level, you


don't normally get three chances. And he will be delighted going back.


He leads, 11-7. We have to ask, how is he four


frames ahead? There's a frailty which we did not see against Martin


Gould and Mark Allen and Kyren Wilson. This is pure concentration,


not nerves. He has done the difficult part, he has won the frame


and not paying attention to the black. Sorry, Barry Hawkins does not


deserve to win this match. If he does not jump all over that with


three chances, that is the brown, the less chance, if he does not jump


over those mistakes by John Higgins, you don't deserve to win because at


this level, you have to be punishing those mistakes. John Higgins is


playing average, let's be honest, average snooker, but is four frames


in front. How do we explain this? He's a great champion but since we


got into this one table stage, he has looked vulnerable. Yes, maybe he


does want it too much and he's trying too hard to play his best


snooker on the stage and may be he thinks it is the last time he will


be here and he wants to get the final, I don't know. Has Barry


Hawkins got too much respect for John? John was a winner when Barry


was starting out, has he got too much respect? Yes, if it keeps going


like this, John Higgins is just going to cruise to victory.


That's not the best break of shot from Barry. That is two break


office, in the first this morning he hit the blue and the green and the


second, he has, a long way short. He has not left anything for John. He


could quit this end, it is a shot to nothing. -- he could clip this in.


And he did, he has overcut it. Which means the white... That is a nice


little nudge on the brown. Although Barry can get down the right side of


the table. He has been very fortunate, John.


Very fortunate. He knew straightaway he had not potted this because he


would have been on the black, but look at where the cue ball has


finished. Yes, and there would have been a nice easy red. The red he


missed kissed the red away from the middle pocket which would have been


easier than the safety shot he's playing now. And look at the pace


again. He just can't hit a ball this morning. That is nerves. Yes, and


you are looking at a man who has been at the one-table situation


three times in the last four years, a great record. Two semis and a


runner-up. This is a bit of a bonus. He would have been playing to get


tight on the cushion and tighter behind the yellow. Even better. That


is twice across the table just a land on the side of the reds. Well,


that is nearer the pink, is it? No, perfectly played, well judged. And


John was waiting to hear touching ball, but it is not. Had it been, he


could have rolled past the green. All he can do now is off the side


cushion and into a similar position. He might just have a little bit of,


as John Parrott calls it, tipping and tapping for a few shots. There's


a tip. And the next shot will be a tap. Unless they are touching. It is


not easy. That has sorted the problem out.


This is not straightforward to get back to baulk, the red is causing a


big problem with that safety shot. He's going to have to hit that


mighty thin. Mighty thin, he did. He has been struggling to find the


baulk cushion and he hit that a little bit harder and all of a


sudden he has found his timing again. He overhit that. Well, this


is a very positive shot John is taking on here. That is a bit more


like the John Higgins we have seen throughout this year's World


Championship. That was a cracker. Because look what he was leaving had


he missed that red. I mean, you go back to the most simple black which


he missed in the previous frame but did not get punished for, and he


knocks one like that in. He has surprised me the way he has been


playing that he even took it on, but he probably thinks he has to make


something happen because he keeps waiting for Barry Hawkins's mistakes


to get in. An attacking shot and he deserves everything he gets from


that shot. He would love to take that one again. Is he on that red?


Maybe just a little bit further than he intended. I think you just missed


a little cleansing can and when he was playing and when he potted the


black -- a glancing cannon. Just glancing off that red on the edge of


the bunch. Yes, good recovery because the pink is available.


The brown spot is available should the pink not go in, so he would not


be tying up any reds at this end of the table. The referee has the ball


market in his hand, he's just checking. Top side of the blue,


straight into that pyramid red at the top.


I can't see the point of playing for the pink, to be honest.


Well, that shot amazed me. He has now got plenty to do with the cue


ball. Either the pink or the brown. And he could have easily held for


the blue, half ball. Taking the brown, probably still going to go


into the side of the pack. Got to get a lot of side on this because


the middle cushion is in the way for it to be natural. -- Middle pocket.


That is what he's after. He was unlucky. Very unlucky.


Look how close he had to get to that Middle pocket to make that shot one.


Yes, frustrating yawn almost. Frustrating raw.


He could have stopped it dead or rolled tin which would have been a


lot easier. He has now tied up both pink and brown. -- or rolled it in.


Good pot there. It was very awkward. This angle shows you how awkward


that bridge hand was there. He has regained the initiative. It's the


wrong angle on the green to take the pot on. I think a cue ball on the


cushion would be better than trying to roll up behind the colour. Does


he feel he can get some sort of angle? He's come off the brown.


That's a superb shot. That's a brilliant safety. APPLAUSE


Totally the wrong angle on the green but to play it like that and use the


brown. Just look at that. Loads of top spin. Brilliant shot. And there


he's done it again. This is a bit of the old John Higgins. He's losing


concentration. There's no pressure on him. He's potted that fabulous


others-macro and he is getting down and Mrs a sitter again. That is


going to be very confusing for him. How's that for a bit of misfortune?


To see the red comeback and block your path. In fairness, he could


have just played a holding storm shot. He got the cannon OK but is


unlucky. That's pretty good because he can't


come off the right side cushion and get behind the black, well, he could


but if he didn't get it absolutely spot on he'd leave a read. If he


gets close to the pocket, he can land on the one to the left. This is


the one that he could land on here. Well, he's hit the other one. Is he


OK? Just about. Or is it? Didn't play to hit that one. The one that


Barry thinks he can pot is the one that John was trying to lay on.


Little awkward this, he might have to play a delicate little cannon.


The only problem, he could push one red onto the black. That's a good


shot. Once again, a little unfortunate not to have nicer part


than this. -- not to have nicer pot. Careful


positional shot. He can get onto leader of the two reds to the right


of the black. After that black, he can move the red to the left of the


black spot. So, this is a frame-winning opportunity. He


certainly didn't play for this red. So short of pace.


Can you believe it? Once again, the lack of pace. That's a schoolboy


error. Goodness me. He really is going through it out there. He's got


John Higgins exactly where he wants him he just can't get into the


match. He will never ever see John Higgins play this poorly again and


find himself for friends behind. -- four frames. One good positional


shot and he can be back amongst the reds. Safely in.


Quite a margin of error there. Can you believe that start? After 14


days of snooker, both have exactly the same number of points. At this


game, points don't make prizes. It's frames that make prizes.


If he's held the spot, it's a poor shot. It makes the reds difficult to


get onto. Yet only has to run through a couple more inches and he


had the cannon. He's tried to play the angle on the black to get the


cannon again but he hasn't got it. Still slightly underhitting


everything at the moment. Barry Hawkins, 19. Not enough at


this level. When you get in, you need to score more. Unfortunately,


he didn't put the red on. Look at this shot from John Higgins. OK,


it's safe but he didn't intend to cannon into the brown. In fact, it


turned out to his advantage. He's covered that.


Just the basic, a little bit of side to get past the brown.


APPLAUSE Quite extraordinary. Look at this


shot. And then write in the middle of the pocket. And then he misses an


absolute sitter. It's amazing what is happening to the former champion


out there. That was a good long pot to knocking. -- knock in. The


right-hand red he'd like to land on. As long as he doesn't slip past the


first one. And he has slipped past it but it all depends. Has he left


it? That's not the one he played to hit. Can John get to the potting


angle? He could even play it as a shock to nothing because the brown


is over the pocket. The other way, just drop it in and be on the black.


Dead weight. That's what he's done. Of course, as he plots the one


difficult one along the cushion. He's left with the other one there.


We'll have to roll this one in and finish low on the black. Straight on


the black is no good. As slow as he can with this one. That's there.


That's a good shot. A slight chance he's going to go five frames in


front. How he's done that, I've no idea. Perfect angle. Just stunned


down, keep it away from the middle pocket. Which he hasn't done. Makes


the pot more difficult now. Caught the jaw of the left middle pocket


there. There's a bit of pressure on this now. No. The black was the poor


shot. It should have been a straightforward run to the winning


post in this frame. He's got away with that, though. When he parted


the black, he shouldn't have been near the middle pocket. Quite a


margin of error. Just misjudged it. Very good indeed from that awkward


position. All of a sudden, it's anyone's


frame. John, if he had parted the black and missed the middle jaw, he


would have been perfect on the yellow. This was the shot. Keep away


from that and you're perfect on the yellow. What a tester this is for


Barry Hawkins. The yellow passes the brown. He's automatically on the


green. What a huge shot this is. That's if he takes it on. I'm going


to fall off my chair if he plays a safety shot here. I cannot believe


it. And it was a big pocket. OK, it's quite a good shot. But where's


the advantage? He's looking at the potting angle.


This is much more difficult than the previous one. He just didn't feel


comfortable taking on the long yellow.


John Higgins will be delighted to see the pink and blue go safe


because he's 16 in front. John only needs the yellow, green,


and brown. With the blue and pink knocked into safe positions, it


makes him a strong favourite for this frame.


Where is this cue ball going? He's OK.


There was the dreaded double case. Careless from John. If he gets on


the green nicely, the pet hate of a snooker player. The double case. --


case. -- kiss. He'd love to finish on the


half ball green to bring the pink interplay. I'm not sure he can do


that. He's tried it. If it slows up he's got a chance of bringing the


green interplay. Where the blue is, he can drop nicely behind it. He


needs the pink interplay. That changes things dramatically.


But he still needs some shot to get to the blue. He's got a little bit


of angle to study it. He's got to be careful with this


one. It's a natural angle to come around


the table and finish on the black. What a frame this would be


to win he seems to be annoyed by not being in the top left-hand corner.


So much for being off in the bottom corner. He took his eye off the


pink. This is heartbreaking for these players. He put everything


into the positional side of that shot and forgot the pot. At least he


didn't leave it. He was having to play that with an awful lot of pace


to get around for the black. He's played the up and down well, as long


as the pink doesn't bounce too far. John Higgins knocking the table.


Appreciation of that good safety. The up and down is not


straightforward this time. John might be tempted to go for the


double here because the White will be coming back towards the black.


Just depends on the angle he has here. He's usually pretty good at


doubles, is John. This would be some time to get one. No. And look where


the cue ball is. Terrible effort. He should have at the cue ball on this


back cushion. What a shot Barry Hawkins is faced with here. He's got


terrific cue power. He can pop this and screw back. The thing going to


finish. Not over middle, surely. Barry has come around to look at the


angle. I think it's just gone an inch or two so far to be cuttable.


John feels he can cut this in. Have a look at this angle. How then that


would have to be. Surely not. No. And he's got away with it. Settle


down, please. I think everybody needs to settle down. It's so tense


out there. Such an important frame. No. It's the tension. This is far


from easy as well. Don't blame him. It was awkward.


More or less in the identical position he was previously when he


just doubled the pink on to the left cushion and left the white on the


right side cushion. Will he do that again? It's slightly different this


time. It's rather macho to take the double on. I think I'd be sending


the pink to the baulk cushion. Which he has done nicely. It may have been


trying to kiss the black there to push it onto the cushion. Five


minutes they played on this pink alone. This is the toughest one


Barry has been faced with. Three frames behind of five frames


behind. Maybe resting on this shot. No. He's left a chance for John. If


he plays a plain ball, the white would be close to the middle pocket.


If he puts a trace of side on it, the pot is much more difficult.


Safely in and John Higgins will be absolutely delighted. He doesn't


need the black. It looked like Barry Hawkins was going to move within


three. He is now five behind. It's not looking good for Barry


Hawkins. You picked out a shot that was an example of real tentative


thinking. He is four frames behind, it's not the time to get negative.


He might put the brown safe but when you are four frames down, you've got


to attack your opponent. Look out vulnerable John Higgins is looking.


Barry Hawkins is not going to safety is way to victory. After, he looks


like he might win the frame but then this pink. I wouldn't have played it


this hard. I know what he's doing. He's thinking if he plays it slow he


might leave the cue ball close to the side cushion. Plays more


positive but he took his eye off the pot. Barry Hawkins, the couple of


pots after that, he didn't get close. He is starting to look like a


beaten man. Higgins is there for the taking but he can't capitalise on


what John is doing. John Higgins has played 19 frames. A really average


display from him. Whether he is... Barry is respecting him too much as


a great champion. He's five frames in front. He's getting away with it.


We were just discussing the desire levels. It's proving claustrophobic


to him. His desire to get to the final. Barry Hawkins looks more, the


table. Five frame advantage. Looks like he's marching on. The last


frame of the mid-session. And let's just quickly say that


after 40 years of the Crucible... I totally agree with Stephen, John


Higgins is breaking up in frame 13 and he can't win this match unless


he attacks. At the best of times, you will not out safety John


Higgins. John Higgins is there for the taking and is five in front,


amazing. Excellent safety shot from Barry


Hawkins. Foul and a miss. Barry Hawkins,


four. Yes, it is amazing the amount of balls that Barry has potted, but


he's five frames behind. Paul Collier is just checking that he has


got the cue ball exactly where it was. That statistic tells me Barry


is dominating most of the frames. But get down to the nitty-gritty at


the latter end of the frame, he's not winning them.


He might be able to have a go at this. I don't know if it passes the


pink, maybe not. Well, I don't think so. Otherwise, he... Well, it sort


of does, but he's just playing the safety shot. I don't know if this


red cuts in, the one he's playing. No, just a safety shot, and it is


not a good one. It was not an easy red but the red would have passed


the pink and he could have got on the black without leaving a great


deal. John Higgins, just a trace of left-hand side will get him onto the


black in the left-hand corner. Decided to play the other ones


first, going for the blue. You will probably notice that red went in off


the side for the Dua Lipa Micro -- for the jaw. Watch the way this red


goes in, how thick, it took the pace out of the cue ball which tells me


he's still not cueing great. Imperative this time that he gets


the correct side of the blue to get up to the reds near the black. Three


reds available. Which he would have played for previously, but he did


not get the angle to do that. No, nowhere. So at the moment, John is


just playing pretty average snooker, but he's five frames in front. His


match against Mark Allen was incredible, Mark Allen was


incredible in that match. Barry Hawkins has won one of these


first four frames. But he should really be trailing nine, ten now.


Well, that was a bit more like Barry Hawkins. He's so good at that type


of shot. The black is on, but he's looking at you would have to say the


more difficult green. This is just rolling got behind it. -- rolling


up. But the red was difficult, the black was nearer the pocket, but he


did not even contemplate taking that on. OK, the white was down near the


jaws of the pocket, but he potted a cracking red, the black was slightly


easier. I think he's waiting to get a good chance amongst the balls, but


sometimes, that does not come along. Well, he has got a chance here.


Awkward bridging, but if he'd just rolls the red in, the black is there


for him. He's hampered by a couple of reds.


Well played, very good. Striking down like that, if you just get a


bit of unwanted side, it makes you missed the pot.


He could do with this being off straight so he could pot this red


just is the kiss on the black. He can run round two cushions, so he's


OK. Got to be straight on that red. You are kidding me! He just wants


the ground to open up and take him away at the minute. It must be soul


destroying for Barry, he's such a brilliant player. Stephen Hendry


talks about his match in the English Open at Preston. He made five


centuries in about nine frames and he looked unbeatable. At this moment


in time, he's playing like a club player. Really, really struggling.


You have to feel for him. Yes, it is awkward now with the two


reds up the other end of the table. John is close to the cushion, but he


can just create enough back spin, he feels. Using the brown and the red,


and he played that want to perfection.


He took that on and he got up straightaway, he knew he had mis-hit


that. Was trying to pot that red and come back for the black, but as soon


as Barry delivered the cue, he more or less stored up and you don't


usually see that. -- he more or less stored up.


That was the pot that Barry Hawkins played and missed a long way, John


Higgins plays a similar pot and he gets it.


Did he get heavy contact that? Fortunately, he has got the red to


the left of the yellow available because he's the wrong side of the


blue. That did not seem to jump that time. He's almost straight on this


blue. So he could leave the one in to the right corner, he had that to


the left of the yellow, had it not been quite at the correct angle. So


he's OK at the moment. Mid-session interval is coming up


after this frame. And at the moment, without playing anywhere near his


best, he's cruising towards the final, it has to be said. Should


John Higgins get to the final, which is obviously looking like he's the


favourite to do so now, he will have to at least get the fourth gear to


have a chance of playing against Mark Selby. But he can do that, he's


such a great match player. And I think he may relax if he did get the


final. He has under scrutiny that again. You just can't get the right


side of the blue at the moment. He might relax a little bit more when


he gets to a final. Yes, he has got to pot quite a view balls before he


gets to that position. Big odds-on favourite now to do that.


Nice angle on the yellow and he can go straight into the reds, a couple


of loose reds covering each other, so any sort of cannon, he would


bring some into play. Just plenty of left-hand side, nice little pond


shot. -- punch shot. There's one available, but is he going to be on


it? I'm surprised he did not play the cannon. He usually does. There's


one red he could get on. And he has misjudged it.


Well, the red is still cut a ball, but the white will be running around


the table free and he has decided to take the cut on. Coming round to


look at the potting angle and with the safety shot, it is bite the


bullet and stay safe. It is dangerous to take the cut on.


Well, it was a great pot with all the extensions on the cue and rest.


So it is just a little talk up behind the brown here.


And that is clever, he has blocked off the escape down the right side


of the table. And if Barry goes the left side of the table, you will do


well not to leave a pot one. I don't know if the two cushion escape route


is there to get back down the table. Just looking to see if he could


possibly attempt that. He has tried it. He does not mind giving four


points away. Better that than hitting the red sick and leaving


John Wright in amongst them. -- hitting the red sick.


That was the big problem with that shot, so difficult to judge. Just


overcompensated. 26 behind at the moment, just glancing at the monitor


to see exactly what is left, this red will cost. Changed his mind


slightly. As to the way he's going to play it.


He did not get the cannon on the pink as he intended and now it is


awkward. You can take the green on, but do the reds pot in the left-hand


corner, is there one of them available? Yes, there's one there.


He can get across full-back. -- he can get across four that. That is


just about perfect. Great chance now. Yes, it was fortunate because


that was tight on the cushion, that shot would not have been on. The


preview shot he played to kiss the green. He's 30 in front. Three reds


and three colours is enough. Reluctant to say at this moment in


time he's going to get three reds and 323 macro. Nothing is


straightforward between Barry Hawkins and John Higgins at the


moment. That tells me the top one of the three is into the right-hand


corner or else he would not have played that way, clearly.


Two ways of playing this, you play the cannon to leave the reds or you


play the right-hand side to get the other side of the reds. That is the


shot he felt would get on one, but he hasn't, so would you question the


way he played it? He would have been thinking any kiss is good, except


that one. This red can still be cut. It is fair. And somehow, he goes


into this mini-session 3-1. Without any breaks, his highest was 42. If


you had told me he would win three of the four frames against Barry


Hawkins, there would definitely be a wager on that and I would have lost


the game. Barry Hawkins has got a lot to think


about. John Higgins goes further clear, now leading 13-7, six in


front. A six frame advantage and he needs


just four more and he might be looking at them in this session to


get into a sixth final. What a curiously difficult first


mini-session to describe, please sum that up, Stephen. In terms of the


playing of snooker, average, not great snooker. John Higgins looks


under severe pressure. I think he's putting himself under pressure to


get to a final. I think to be perfectly honest, when he plays


Barry Hawkins, he has had half an eye expecting to beat Barry, which


is right because he's a better player than Barry Hawkins, he has


more pedigree at the Crucible. And he's so desperate to get the final,


it is affecting his game and his demeanour. Barry failing to grasp


the metal. He has had his chances and has failed to be decisive this


enough to go for them. This could be deferred in recent times and he will


be well beaten if he keeps going like this. We have talked about how


Ding has found another level and maybe Barry Hawkins needs to find


another level to start competing at the business end of this tournament.


He loves playing here and is very consistent and gets to the one-table


set-up, but you need that bit extra. You are only halfway to getting the


job done, so he needs to, it looks like he's going to lose this match


unless something drastic happens, he needs to look at himself and see


what he has to do to win this. The last couple of semifinals, he has


been beaten by Shaun Murphy with a session to spare against Ronnie a


couple of years ago. So much to do, not many big breaks, only one


century, and half a decade since we had a maximum at the Crucible, you


remember the one! Cliff Thorburn taking this sport to the max in


1983. I do remember having a dream a couple of weeks beforehand that I


could make a 147 in the World Championship.


Well, that is one way of getting them, I suppose, and staying on the


black as well. When I did have the first opportunity to shoot the first


black, the balls were spread nice and good.


Spread open beautifully. I was sick, I did not feel that


great. But anyway, I managed to keep going.


On a stage like this with just one red left, he stops and he blows his


nose and he says, let's have a break. If he can take this red and


the black, the colours will be on their spots.


I was thinking positive. Keep rolling! They have actually


stopped playing on the other table. Now this is the real shots to get on


the yellow. He hasn't come quite for enough. He


has left himself a tough shot, 15 reds and 15 blacks he has taken now.


When I got to the black at the very end, I felt comfortable enough to


save to myself that I wanted to pot the black no matter the size of


pocket. Good luck, mate. Wonderful! That is


truly wonderful! A very defining moment for me.


That was the first in 1983 and there have been nine since made by six men


in total, three from Stephen Hendry and three from Ronnie O'Sullivan and


yours was the last in 2012, a long time ago! Yes, you keep saying there


are a load of maximum is these days but nonsense me, very surprising.


Their team this season, extraordinary. Perhaps something to


do with the prize money, it is not the incentive it once was? -- 13


this season. Yes, it is very poor in the biggest tournament we have, it


is pretty miserable, I think. One reason why Ronnie never gave it 100%


is that. Yes, that was the third 146 in his quarterfinal against Ding


Junhui. We will be coming back shortly, but we are moving to red


Button coverage now for the remainder of this. That will be


coming up on the red Button, and you can continue to watch the last four


frames between John Higgins and Barry Hawkins and then we will


return shortly at 1:15pm on BBC Two for the last frames of bests. And


building up to that blockbuster final frame and it could be a final


session between Selby and Ding Junhui. See you soon.


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