This is rather strangely,the first world final contested by two multiple world champions,but even the greats are not immune to early nerves and both here struggled early on to come to terms with both the occasion and the table conditions..
The first few frames were shared,but the first real break came in frame four as Higgins rolled in a fabulous 141 to go to the interval level at 2-2.
This break seemed put Higgins in the groove and with Selby, perhaps showing the effects of his long semi final with Ding,struggling to get going, Higgins started to exert full control on all aspects of the game ,winning the last four to lead 6-2.
Out for the night session then and the despite sharing the opening four again to move the score along to 8-4,it was Higgins who stepped on the gas again to move six clear at 10-4. Selby was now in some real trouble,but in a repeat of his late efforts against Ronnie on day one of the 2014 final,he capitalised on a rare missed pink from Higgins to close to 10-5,before,with a renewed spring in his step, he also took the last two to be very much still in this a 10-7.
With all things now left beautifully poised for tomorrows afternoon session,what will each player be feeling tonight?
Well I suppose initially the happier will be Selby, after enduring the day he had,to be able to dig out those last three frames will almost feel like he's in front.He'll be now thinking ,a good nights sleep to shake off the last of the Ding hangover and go at it hard tomorrow.
Higgins on the other was probably leaving the venue cursing himself for letting Selby off the ropes and not securing a bigger overnight lead,but I'd say by the time he reached his hotel he will have been reflecting on a job well done today and the fact that a 10-7 offered this morning would have been snapped at.
One thing is though regardless of how they feel now,both men will be starting to eye up the third session as the one to make their decisive move for the title. In that 2014 final Selby did a real number on Ronnie & eventually broke him in that corresponding session ,but against Higgins,he will not be able to boss things to that extent and that may prove the difference in the end.
If Higgins is to secure the eight frames he needs for a fifth world crown,he will need to produce one of those all round flawless days that he has done so often in the past.
Its going to be a fascinating watch.Session three starts at 2pm