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Barry Hawkins is 9-7 ahead of Mark Williams after two sessions of their Betfred World Championship

Barry Hawkins is 9-7 ahead of Mark Williams after two sessions of their Betfred World Championship semi-final clash.

Today’s second session was split 4-4 to leave Hawkins nursing a two-frame advantage ahead of Saturday’s conclusion. They return at 10am to play eight more frames, with the remainder to be played from 7.30pm.

Hawkins is aiming to reach the final for the second time having lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2013. Williams conquered the Crucible in 2000 and 2003 and is playing his first semi-final since 2011.

Welshman Williams took the first two frames today with a top break of 80 to draw level at 5-5. London’s Hawkins hadn’t scored a point at that stage, but compiled a run of 63 in frame 11 to regain the lead. Williams took the next on the colours to make it 6-6 at the interval.

Frame 13 also came down to the colours and Williams looked set to take it until he missed a tough pot on the blue to a baulk corner, using the rest. Hawkins slotted in the blue and pink, then got the better of the scrappy 14th to lead 8-6.

In the 15th, a safety battle on the final pink was resolved when Hawkins doubled it to a centre pocket to open up a three frame lead. But Williams won the last of the session with a break of 62 to reduce the overnight deficit.