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WSC 2011 Final – Judd Trump 15-18 John Higgins

2 May 2011 No Comment


John Higgins came from behind to beat 21-year-old sensation Judd Trump 18-15 and clinch his fourth World Championship crown at the Crucible.

The 35-year-old Scot was outplayed on the first day as Trump fired in two centuries to build a 10-7 lead.

Breaks of 104 and 99 put Trump 12-9 up, but a costly missed blue saw Higgins pounce and take five straight frames.

Trump made it 14-14 and trailed 16-15 but Higgins took the next and sealed it with a doubled pink and superb black.

It was a stunning finale from Higgins, whose career looked in jeopardy a year ago, as he sealed victory in a match which boasted high-class snooker throughout the four sessions.

Higgins, ‘The Wizard of Wishaw’, has been far from his best during the tournament but his sheer grit and tactical nous proved enough to thwart the potting talent of the spiky-haired Trump.

Twelve months ago, on the morning of the 2010 final, the Scot found himself the subject of fixing allegations after a tabloid newspaper sting. He was later cleared of deliberately throwing frames.

After returning in November from a six-month ban for not reporting the illegal approach made to him, Higgins has won five tournaments including three ranking events – the UK Championship, the Welsh Open and now the World Championship.

“It has been amazing, an unbelievable 12 months but it has been great,” said a tearful Higgins. “It was really tough match-play. I knew I had to come into the third session [on Monday afternoon] and play great, and I think I did that to get back into the match and make Judd think a little bit.

“He was the better player. He was playing a brand of snooker I have never seen before in my life. It was unbelievable the amount of long shots he was potting, it was incredible. It was great to watch – we have got the new sensation of the game.”

If Higgins’ experience proved crucial in the final analysis, there is no doubt snooker has found a new star in Trump, whose confidence after winning his first ranking title at the China Open last month took him all the way to the final.

“I came here and was not expected to do that well so to get to the final is a good achievement,” said Trump, who picked up £125,000 as runner-up and has rocketed up to number nine in the world rankings.

“Obviously I would have liked to have won but John was the better player on the day and played the better snooker over the two days and I think he is a deserving winner.

“But the support I have received has been unbelievable. From the start 17 days ago I was no-one really but every game it has been building and building, and the fan base I have created is unbelievable.

“It wasn’t enough this time but I will come back next year.”

The opening session of the final finished 4-4, but Trump took the last three frames of Sunday’s second session to lead 10-7 overnight.

His third century of the final – the youngster’s 10th of the championship – and a break of 99 helped him extend that to 12-9 on Monday afternoon.

He might have made it 13-9, but in a pivotal moment of the final, Trump missed a tricky blue along the rails leading 55-47 and Higgins cleared the remaining three colours to win the frame on the black.

That was the cue for a dramatic change of momentum, as the five-time finalist won the last four frames of the session.

A break of 93 reduced his deficit to one, and a brilliant 113 – his first century of the match, and his ninth of the championship – brought the scores level.

After another Trump miss in the 25th frame, a charged-up Higgins compiled 57 to take the lead at 13-12 for the first time since the end of the fifth frame.

After a rapturous reception greeted the two protagonists on their return to the arena for the final session – “I’ve never experienced anything like that before, it was 100 times better than anything,” said Higgins – a run of 62 saw him secure his fifth frame in a row.

But Trump battled back to level it at 14-14 and was 51 points to the good in the next only to see Higgins snatch the frame on the pink.

The youngster had a chance to get back on level terms only to leave a missed brown over a pocket, but a 70 break in the 31st frame saw him stay in touch at 16-15.

Both players had chances in the next frame before Higgins finally took it on the pink to move within one of victory.

Trump appeared set to extend the match after building a 60-point lead in the 33rd frame, but Higgins got the snooker he needed before finishing in style – an audacious double on the pink and a tremendous black signalling his third title in five years and an end to the drama. BBC Sport


Judd Trump opened up a 10-7 frame lead against John Higgins after a pulsating opening two sessions in the World Championship final.

The 21-year-old looked at ease and produced two centuries to leave the three-time champion reeling. Scotland’s Higgins fought back from losing the first two frames but ended the afternoon session at 4-4 after Trump hit back with a break of 102.

Trump surged on and took the last three frames to leave him eight from glory. The best-of-35 frame match continues on Monday at 1400 BST.

The final had begun with a moving tribute to the late Ted Lowe, the former BBC commentator who died on Sunday.

The Crucible audience were then treated to a mesmerising battle between the experienced Scot, in his fifth world final, and the young pretender eyeing back-to-back ranking titles.

Many may have expected Trump, who has risen to ninth in the provisional world rankings, to struggle in the sport’s greatest arena but after his China Open win in April and his run in Sheffield, his confidence is flying and he coolly took the game’s opening two frames.

Higgins, eyeing a fourth world crown, seemed strangely subdued and error-ridden but still managed to secure three frames in a row in typical gritty style to edge ahead.

Bristol’s top cueman hit back though with a stunning 102 and despite losing a shocking seventh frame after missing out on a maximum 147 when on 64, he set up the second session perfectly having drawn level at 4-4.

Trump began the evening in similar style as he blew a golden opportunity when on 20 and had to watch Higgins step to the table and produce a 60 to regain the lead.

But the pattern turned on its head as Higgins was the one stuck in his chair following a knock of 45. Trump’s deep screw on the red was sensational and led to the clever snooker that ultimately created the chance for Trump to clear to the pink and level at 5-5.

It was the start of a remarkable feast of top-potting by the spiky-haired young left-hander as he produced a run of 58 to get in front.

After his semi-final win over Mark Williams, Higgins warned that not even putting the white cushion was a guarantee to stem the flow of Trump’s potting power and frame 12 was a perfect example.

Having already made a 24, Trump was back at the table with a fine long red and as Higgins returned to his throne looking like a man fearing the worst, Trump belted in a dazzling 10-foot black to finish on 103 points and open up a 7-5 lead. The crowd rightfully rose to their feet in appreciation.

But Higgins, known as the ‘Wizard of Wishaw’, has shown plenty of fight over the last two weeks and after stealing the 13th frame having made a lucky snooker, parity was soon restored at 7-7 with yet more grit and tenacity.

It was then Trump’s turn to put in a shift of scrapping as he wrestled back the initiative to end the day with three frames in a row.

After a messy frame left Trump ahead on 8-7, the desire of Higgins to continue the fight seemed to dwindle when he surprisingly conceded with three reds left, only trailing by 51. With enough points left on the table to force a re-spotted black, Higgins was fined £250 for opting to concede.

It seemed to boost the already confident youngster, and after the 35-year-old Higgins blew a chance when missing an easy black on 36, it was left for the Bristolian to seal his third successive frame and a three-frame lead to put him firmly in the driving seat ahead of Monday’s finale. BBC Sport

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