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Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 17 April-3 May
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app.

Mark Williams scored two centuries as he fought back to lead fellow multiple world champion John Higgins 5-3 in a high-quality start to an absorbing second-round match at the Crucible.

Scotland’s Higgins, 45, took a 3-1 lead thanks to three half-centuries.

But the Welshman, 46, scored his second ton and further breaks of 91 and 70 helped him win four frames in a row.

Meanwhile, third seed Neil Robertson maintained his two-frame lead over Jack Lisowski, going from 5-3 to 9-7.

Four-time Crucible champion Higgins looked in imperious form as breaks of 58, 90 and 75 saw him gain the initiative in a contest that is a re-run of the epic 2018 final he lost to Williams.

But the three-time winner froze out his opponent after the mid-session break, with Higgins managing just 52 points in the second half of the session.

Williams continued to use the controversial break-off technique, where he nudges the cue ball into the back of the pack off the bottom cushion, while Higgins also played the shot once.

After his first-round win over Sam Craigie, Williams said the debate and talk of it being banned by the sport’s governing body was “farcical”.

“If they ban the break-off they’ve got to ban rolling up behind baulk colours and rolling up behind the black,” he said. “It’s not an illegal shot and I don’t see the problem with it.”

The match play to a finish on Saturday, with morning and evening sessions.

Robertson remains in control

Neil Robertson
Neil Robertson has won two ranking events this season

The Robertson-Lisowski match was equally compelling and arguably even surpassed the standard served up the two veterans on table one.

Fans were treated to a break of at least 50 in every one of the shared eight frames.

Bristol’s Lisowski, the world number 14, made breaks of 91, 80 and 73 as he levelled the scores at 6-6.

But the Australian, the 2010 world champion, responded with scores of 137, 69 and 113, earning a 9-6 lead.

The fourth century of the match, Lisowski’s first, cut the gap to 9-7 prior to the final session on Saturday morning.

Elsewhere, the other morning match saw world number six Kyren Wilson and world number 11 Barry Hawkins finish level at 4-4 at the end of the opening session of their second-round meeting.

They will play session two on Friday evening before finishing their match on Saturday afternoon.

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