JOHN HIGGINS claimed his first major ranking title in more than two years after victory over Ben Woollaston earned him the Welsh Open title.
The four-times world champion became the tournament’s most successful player tonight (Sunday) after the 9-3 win earned the Scot a fourth Welsh Open title – beating Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry who have both won the ranking event three times.
During the past 18 months Higgins has struggled for form with no appearance in a major ranking semi-final since he reached the final of the Wuxi Classic in July 2013. His last major success was less than a year before when he won the Shanghai Masters final in 2012.
Given his successful career, to some in the sport this was a major surprise including O’Sullivan who stated in a recent blog his disbelief that the Scot was so out of form.
His drop in form led to Higgins dropping in the world rankings so much so his top 16 place looked unsecure before this week’s Welsh Open got underway.
But victory here in Cardiff could not have come at a better time for the 39-year-old who can go into the remainder of the season and the upcoming World Championship with much more belief and confidence,
Leading 5-3 from the opening session, Higgins only needed the first four frames of the evening session to clinch the honours and the £60,000 prize against the 27-year-old playing in his first major final after an impressive run.
Higgins moved three frames clear with a top break of 46 and his lead extended to four frames in the next when he laid a clever snooker on the red, and although Woollaston hit it, he left his opponent the chance to clear for 7-3.
And that ended Woollaston’s resistance as Higgins sailed through the last two frames with top breaks of 68 and 83.
HIGGINS’ WELSH OPEN TITLES
2000 – beat Stephen Lee 9-8
2010 – beat Ali Carter 9-4
2011 – beat Stephen Maguire 9-6
2015 – beat Ben Woollaston 9-3
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