Pictures by Colin Poultney
Marco Fu came from 4-1 down against John Higgins to leave the Coral Scottish Open final all square at 4-4 after the first session.
Higgins made a scintillating start and created a small piece of snooker history as he became the first player to open a ranking event final with three consecutive centuries. However Fu recovered to leave the contest perfectly poised ahead of the concluding session, which starts at 7pm. First to nine frames takes the £70,000 top prize and the new Stephen Hendry Trophy.
Wishaw’s Higgins is seeking the 29th ranking title of his career, which would put him second on his own on the all-time list, behind only Hendry’s record of 36. The 41-year-old world number three is also aiming for his third title in six weeks having won the China Championship and Champion of Champions in November.
Hong Kong’s 38-year-old Fu is hoping to land the third ranking title of his career having won the 2007 Grand Prix and 2013 Australian Open. The world number 14 is playing in his seventh ranking final.
Scotland’s Higgins stamped his authority on the match early on with breaks of 126, 101 and 100. Fu hit back with a 106, his 11th century of the tournament, to make it 3-1 at the interval.
Higgins won frame five with a run of 78 and was among the balls in the sixth but was unlucky to knock a red in when splitting the pack on 28. That changed the momentum as Fu replied with 44 then sealed the frame after Higgins failed to complete a risky plant with two reds left.
Higgins had first chance again in frame seven but could only make 16. Fu made 58 and later laid two excellent snookers on the last red before potting it to close the gap to 4-3.
Fu’s run of 54 put him in control of the last frame of the session, and he sealed it by potting the last red after Higgins failed to gain the snooker he needed.