The Welshman boasts a 10-7 overnight lead heading into the final day of action in Sheffield and could be set to inflict a second defeat of this ilk on Higgins after the four-time champion's reverse against Ronnie O'Sullivan on this very day 17 years ago.
Antrim's Mark Allen bowed out of the Betfred World Championship, losing 13-6 to Kyren Wilson who cruised through to the semi-finals yesterday.
Trailing 4-0 at the mid-session interval was certainly not how Higgins wanted to start his seventh World Championship final but a classy break of 119 got him on the board.
The Coen brothers' thriller No Country for Old Men may have a sequel after John Higgins and Mark Williams rolled back the years in Sheffield on Sunday.
Two further tons helped the 42-year-old Scot level the final at 7-7 but Williams added one of his own as he won the last three frames of the day.
They were hailed as "gladiators" by O'Sullivan, with whom Williams and Higgins joined the professional ranks in 1992.
Indeed Williams finished so late against Hawkins that when he left the Crucible after media interviews, his best food option was a takeaway.
Aside from shot selection, Williams was also seen posting on Twitter just an hour before the final session and was even talking live on TV just seconds before being introduced into the arena. "I haven't felt that nervous since I beat Stephen Hendry on a re-spotted black in the (1998) Masters final". Playing either of them, it'll be a great match I'm sure. Luckily for me Barry was feeling the pressure.
"He's bald and I'm grey now, so it is a brilliant final!"
He was looking for a better outcome than previous year when he surged 10-4 clear of Mark Selby and had the title in his crosshairs before running out of steam.
"I'm not getting too excited, I've been here before and I know what it's like to go out there and play bad, so it can happen at any time". I've grown up with John, played him in all the tournaments, and now we're in the final of the World Championship. It's 18 years after he first won it and 20 years after I first won it.
"At the time I felt previous year was my best opportunity to win it again. I don't know how the next game's going to transpire".
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