John Higgins led an out-of-sorts Ryan Day 5-2 after the first session of today’s Royal London Watches Grand Prix final.
Two-time world champion Higgins did not need to be at his best to move within four frames of his fourth Grand Prix title at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre in Glasgow.
There were no centuries in a tense affair, but Higgins knocked in four fifty breaks to Day’s two.
Welshman Day, 28, looked to be feeling the pressure of trying to win his first ranking final at the third attempt, although Higgins was also playing his first final since clinching his second world title last year.
The Scot, 33, took a nervy 24-minute opener in which he twice missed frame ball and in which Day should have twice cleared up.
A missed yellow with the rest ultimately cost the Welshman after he had laid two great snookers to get himself back into contention.
Day’s malaise continued when he missed two easy reds when well positioned in the next frame, Higgins punishing him with an 85 clearance.
A moment of misfortune in frame three actually worked out for Day after he went in off playing a safety.
Higgins missed the resulting long red and the world number eight pounced with a 64 break that ultimately proved decisive.
Playing in his 31st ranking final, Higgins was in first in frame four, compiling a 57 break before sealing a 3-1 interval lead when Day missed another long pot.
Higgins maintained his greater fluency after the restart, the Scot compiling another half-century.
He broke down but Day continued to flounder, allowing his opponent to open up a three-frame cushion.
The Welshman got away with a horrendous misjudgement in frame six, underhitting an attempted snooker behind the brown.
Higgins failed to punish the error and Day knocked in a much-needed 82 clearance to blue, finally showing a glimpse of the form that saw him knock in three centuries in yesterday’s semi-final.
Day had a chance to go into the evening session only a frame behind but he broke down on 21, and a run of 65 from Higgins was enough to clinch it.