Higgins on top of world after third World Championship snooker title
Published 05/05/2009 | 00:00
John Higgins was speechless after he claimed his third World Championship title with an 18-9 victory over Shaun Murphy.
The Scot joined the likes of Steve Davies and Stephen Hendry to have won three or more titles with his triumph at the Crucible.
"I am over the moon. I don't know what to say. It's brilliant,” he said. "To be classed with someone like Ronnie (O'Sullivan), it's an unbelievable honour.
"The second session made the difference. Shaun missed a couple he wouldn't normally miss.
"I got a good run of the balls in the second session and that is what swung it my way."
Asked about his chances in the future, he said: "If I've won two out of the last three there is no reason why I can't go on and win more."
Murphy agreed the second session had been pivotal.
He said: "I thought the match was good until we got to five-all, that second session is where it went wrong for me.”
Higgins sealed his victory in the final with a classy break of 73 before celebrating with wife Denise and their three young children.
After winning seven of eight frames in Sunday's second session he merely had to consolidate his hefty lead. Higgins' top break of the second afternoon of the match had been a modest 61, however he still managed to win five out of eight frames to build on his overnight 11-5 advantage.
Murphy missed three important yellows, two in the first frame of that session and the third just as he seemed certain to cut Higgins' lead to 15-9 at the interval.
Murphy made a break of 91 yesterday afternoon which was a hint that he was in the mood to respond to Higgins' second-session surge. But Higgins went 13-6 ahead after winning a safety battle on the blue and then escaping from a snooker to pot the pink.
Murphy should have narrowed the gap to six frames again after Higgins broke down on a break of 49 in frame 20. But after reaching 43 he was poorly positioned on a red and could not produce the necessary precise cut required to keep the break going.
He left the red for Higgins who swept eight clear with a run of 27.
A run of 47 brought Murphy the next frame, and he added 79 to reel Higgins in a little further.
The Scot finished the afternoon on a high with breaks of 61 and 52, and then this evening briefly threatened to start with a 147 maximum break.
He faltered on 48 after potting six reds and blacks, but Murphy could not take advantage and a run of 58 from Higgins took him to within one of victory.
Murphy pulled one back but he had needed 10 in a row.
Higgins almost finished with a 100 break but missed the yellow, not that it mattered.