JOHN Higgins reigned supreme in China after coming back from five frames down against Judd Trump to lift the Shanghai Masters title in dramatic style.
In an exciting final, the Scot’s chances looked doomed when Trump led 7-2 at the end of the first session – a session which saw Trump dominate despite a brilliant 147 break from Higgins.
But after the break of Higgins fought back in his typical battling style and won six frames to turn the match on its head. Trump fought back twice to force the thrilling match into a decider but it was Higgins who prevailed and took the cash prize of £75,000 as well
The match was a repeat of the 2011 World Championship final and Trump dominated from the start with a century break to give him the opening frame.
The Bristol potter’s form continued in the next two frames as breaks of 80 and 74 put him 3-0 ahead. Things then got even better for the world number 2 after his second century break of 111 and a run of 59 put him in total control at 5-0 ahead.
But Higgins, who has rediscovered his form after a brilliant week in China, got off the mark in style hitting a superb maximum break.
Amazingly it’s the second 147 in the final of a ranking event in China this season. Stuart Bingham hit a maximum at the Wuxi Classic final in July, when also trailing 5-0 down at the time, to Ricky Walden.
The next two frames were shared but Trump reasserted his dominance winning the ninth frame to go into the evening’s session in pole position leading 7-2.
But after the restart Higgins showed the Shanghai crowd what he was capable of and why he has four World Championship crowns to his name. Breaks of 89 and 74 saw him take the first two frames of the session to trail 7-4.
The 12th frame saw the 37-year-old clinch another frame on the board as the final and 7-5 scoreline was starting to have a different complexion to the whole contest as he got closer and closer to Trump.
Higgins then got to just one frame behind last year’s China Open champion with a break of 76 after Trump missed a plant on two reds early on in the frame.
A brilliant comeback was complete after the mid session interval when the Scot hit a smooth 71 break to level the contest at 7-7 before Higgins then took the lead for the first time winning his sixth frame on the bounce to go 8-7 in front.
Much to Trump’s relief Higgins’ fine run came to a halt in frame 16 as the world number 2 made another brilliant century break of 105 to level the match at 8-8 and turn an exciting final into a best-out-of-three frames decider.
An opening break of 64 helped Higgins regain the lead at 9-8 and be within one frame of the match but there was still much more drama to come.
The 18th frame went down to the colours and when Higgins went in-off while playing a long pot on the pink – the frame was for the taking for Trump who made no mistake potting the pink to force the final into a deciding frame.
Trump made the better start of to the final frame and made a break of 36 until he lost position on the black. Losing position was to prove very costly for Trump as Higgins then hit in a long red which set up a break of 61 to put him in firm control with Trump needing two snookers.
And when Trump fouled himself after Higgins had snookered him, the phenomenal match came to an end.
Higgins joins previous winners Dominic Dale, Ricky Walden, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Ali Carter and Mark Selby to have lifted the trophy.
Despite another heartbreaking defeat for Trump against Higgins, the Bristol star has significantly closed the gap at the top world rankings denting Mark Selby’s lead.