Ronnie O’Sullivan and Kyren Wilson were cheered into the Crucible for the opening session of their World Championship final.
For the first time since the opening day of this year’s tournament, a strictly regulated number of fans were allowed into the venue in line with the government’s relaxed lockdown rules.
O’Sullivan, who is aiming to match Steve Davis and Ray Reardon as a six-time champion, had expressed concerns over the decision to allow spectators into the venue.
The 44-year-old was set to start a significant favourite against Wilson, who reached his first final after an astonishing last-frame decider against Anthony McGill.
But former world semi-finalist Joe Perry said he believed Wilson’s enormous self-belief could help him conjure what would rank as a significant upset win.
Perry told the PA news agency: “Kyren has tremendous self-belief and he genuinely believes that he is one of the top players in the world.
“No-one is really expecting him to win the final but that doesn’t really work for Kyren – he has put himself under immense pressure to be world champion.”