Scotland’s John Higgins won the snooker world championship for the fourth time here on Monday, beating England’s new star Judd Trump 18-15 in the best of 35 frames final.
It capped a traumatic year for 35-year-old Higgins as this time last year he was provisionally suspended over match-fixing allegations of which he was later absolved and then his father died in February.
“It’s an unbelievable moment to win it again,” said Higgins, who is known as the “Wishaw Wizard.”
“It’s been amazing, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for [the support of his family]. It’s just an unbelievable 12 months, but it’s been great,” he said.
Higgins heaped praise on Trump, saying he had played the better snooker overall, but the unassuming Englishman didn’t see it that way returning the compliment.
“I’ve come here not expecting to do that well, so to get to the final is a good achievement,” the young Trump said.
“Obviously I’d have liked to have won today, but John was the better player on the day, he played the -better snooker over the two days and was the deserving winner,” he added.
Higgins had showed time and again throughout the tournament his fighting qualities as he came from behind against Ronnie “Rocket” O’Sullivan and two-time winner and new world No. 1 Mark Williams in the semi-finals.
He displayed those again in the final against 21-year-old Trump, who had started as an 80/1 outsider but showed those odds were way off when he ousted defending champion Neil Robertson in the first round.
Higgins looked to be in trouble when Trump built on his overnight 10-7 advantage to lead 12-9 and looked like making it a four-frame gap when he made a rare potting error.
However, the burly Scot not only took that frame but the next four to boot to hold a 14-12 lead.
BACK AND FORTH
However, Trump — who showed he was a dark horse to look out for at the championships when he won the China Open last month — also fought back and leveled at 14-14 and hung in there to trail 16-15.
Higgins, though, rattled off the two frames required to add this trophy to the ones he won in 1998, 2007 and 2009.
Higgins, who took home a check for ￡250,000 (US$412,400), will have his sights on the all-time record of seven crowns held by compatriot Stephen Hendry.