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2023 World Snooker Championship Day 12 Preview: Honours even in key clash

John Higgins took early control of his quarter-final clash with Mark Selby but it is now honours even in the battle of the four-time world champions and that has set up a mouthwatering second session on Wednesday afternoon.

Having brushed aside Kyren Wilson 13-2 in the last-16, Higgins carried that form with him into his titanic tussle with Selby and sent out a statement by racing into a 4-1 lead.

But some hard snooker from Selby, concluding with a superb century break, means it is now 4-4 and leaves everything left to play for in this best-of-25 encounter.

Higgins' crunch clash with the Jester from Leicester is finely poised and so is Anthony McGill's quarter-final showdown with Chinese star Si Jiahui, with that pair also locked level after eight frames.

Si, having already knocked out seeded stars Shaun Murphy and Robert Milkins, is enjoying a dream Crucible debut and he showed few signs of worry as he took a commanding 4-1 lead.

But back came McGill who, like Selby, reeled off the final three frames to leave the contest hanging in the balance.

McGill and Si will be back at 10am on Wednesday for the second session of their last-eight encounter and their match will conclude at 7pm, the same time as Higgins and Selby complete their three-session scrap.

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2023 World Snooker Championship: Schedule & Latest Scores

John Higgins (11/10) v Mark Selby (8/11)

WhatJohn Higgins v Mark Selby
WhereCrucible Theatre, Sheffield
When13:00 Wednesday & 19:00 Wednesday
How to watchbet365 Live Streaming, BBC and Eurosport
OddsJohn Higgins 11/10, Mark Selby 8/11

Higgins, on a high from his 13-2 dismantling of Wilson in the last-16, trapped quickly in this heavyweight clash but Selby hit back, taking the final three frames to ensure things ended as they started.

In what is a reproduction of the 2017 final which Selby won 18-15, many were expecting another gruelling battle, and so far that is how things have panned out.

This duo have four world titles apiece and are two of the finest match-players ever to grace the table.

That makes picking a winner seriously difficult and spectators may want to strap themselves in for some late-night drama on Wednesday.

With that in mind, those still looking to get involved should strongly consider backing over 22.5 frames at 4/6, given this has all the markings of a topsy-turvy clash. A 13-10 scoreline or better would result in a winner.

No player is going to give an inch and when they do get their chance, expect them to take it.

These are two Crucible specialists that are able to perform to their best under the maximum of pressure, making whoever does prevail a leading contender in their pursuit of a fifth world title.

Selby, who has been in stronger form in the build-up to the Sheffield showpiece, is slightly preferred outright by the layers at 4/1 while Higgins, a semi-finalist last year, is 6/1 to go all the way.

Anthony McGill (4/7) v Si Jiahui (11/8)

WhatAnthony McGill v Si Jiahui
WhereCrucible Theatre, Sheffield
When13:00 Wednesday & 19:00 Wednesday
How to watchbet365 Live Streaming, BBC and Eurosport
OddsAnthony McGill 4/7, Si Jiahui 11/8

McGill made the one-table set-up at the Crucible Theatre in 2020 but the Glaswegian Gladiator looks to have a battle on his hands in his bid to repeat the trick.

However, his extra experience told late on in the opening session as mistakes crept in Si's game and McGill displayed excellent temperament to win the final three frames, levelling matters at 4-4.

Just like when reaching the semi-final three years ago, McGill came through qualifying and so did his opponent Si, who upset Tom Ford and Jordan Brown to seal a Crucible debut.

At just 20 years of age, Si has already announced himself as a star of the future with the manner of his wins over Murphy and Milkins, which displayed composure beyond his years.

But, now in the quarter-final, this is where things get real and it will take a serious performance for him to overcome McGill, whose earlier-round wins over Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski show him to be in proper form.

The Smiling Assassin lost his cue action in the early phase of this quarter-final but he should be feeling pretty well in himself given the strength in which he finished the session.

McGill, featuring in his fourth quarter-final in Sheffield, is 4/7 to go on and reach the last four and he is expected to put his past experience to good use.

The Glaswegian is 12/1 to claim his maiden world title while Si, bidding to become the youngest world champion in history, is an 18/1 chance.

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