Back-in-form Higgins wins Shanghai Masters
A genuinely revived John Higgins obtained a terrific 10-9 victory over one of the best cueists of the moment, Judd Trump, to lift the Shanghai Masters trophy after almost a year and a half of lack of silverware.
The two players have an interesting history together, having met for the first time during the 2011 World Championship final, when the Scotsman beat Judd 18-15 to conquer his fourth world title – a title that was the last one on his list of winnings, as during the 2011/2012 season Higgins struggling to get back on track.
But the bad luck ended with the sixth edition of the Shanghai Masters tournament, the Scot defeating players like Jamie Jones, Ryan Day, Ali Carter and Shaun Murphy before landing in the final against Judd Trump.
The English-Scottish match affair had it all: heavy breaks, moments of drama, amazing shots, a perfect 147, twist and turns, pressure balls – but above all these, top-class snooker.
The first session saw Trump taking off by firing in breaks of 12, 80, 79, 111, 59, 51 and 53, while his opponent, although making a 147 during frame six, was unable to make the score-line go his way, hence the Bristol-man getting a fabulous 7-2 lead.
However, when the last session kicked off, the “Wizard of Wishaw” put his cue into potting one ball after another, runs of 88, 74, 48, 30, 76 and 71, leaving no space between him and Judd. The come-back was a reality and the scoreboard was showing a perfect 7-7 score-line.
But Higgins didn’t settle for a draw, and went on to take the lead after a dramatic 15th frame, which ended on the last black. For the first time and after being led 7-2, the four-time world champion was in control of the match at 8-7.
Trump, who seemed doomed to sit forever on his seat, brought his response right away in the form of a 105 break, but Higgins restored his leadership with a 64 to go just one frame away from victory, at 9-8.
The 18th frame was a scrappy affair that saw both players having equal chances to win it; in the end, though, the pressure made itself noticed and Higgins sent the cue ball into a pocket, this practically handing Trump with the chance to force a decider.
Full of confidence, Judd started his final attack right from the beginning of the last frame, but lost position on 36, this allowing Higgins to come to the table.
The Scotsman took his chances with a long red and so the match-wining break started. It stopped at 61, which was leaving Trump in need of a snooker – a snooker that he failed to get, thus leaving him no choice except to admit defeat.
An over-the-moon John Higgins received his trophy along with a cheque of £75,000 and another for of £12,000 for the highest break of the tournament, in front of an ecstatic crowd of snooker fans, thus finally putting an end to the trophy drought.