Finals

John Higgins Crowned Champion of Champions

John Higgins won the Champion of Champions for the first time after a 10-7 victory over old foe Ronnie O’Sullivan in Coventry on Saturday.

john-higgins-coc-ws

Higgins and O’Sullivan played each other in a final for the first time in nine years. Photo credit: World Snooker

Triumph for the Scot extends a remarkable resurgence in form which also saw him capture the inaugural Evergrande China Championship last week in Guangzhou.

In November the 41 year-old has pocketed an incredible £300,000 from collecting the pair of lucrative invitationals.

The only minor gripe, and it is minuscule in the grand scheme of things, is that neither victory or prize money will count towards his world rankings position.

That said, it’s unlikely that Higgins will be bothered that much about that as he has re-announced himself as a major contender on the snooker scene.

To win back-to-back tournaments featuring fields of such elite standard is testament to the four-time world champion’s longevity in the sport.

People continue to write the former world no.1 off, on numerous occasions suggesting that his time at the top has passed, but on every occasion he has been able to prove his doubters wrong.

Question marks will inevitably persist surrounding his six-month ban from the sport in 2010 when he failed to report suspicious activity surrounding potential match-fixing.

But on the baize itself it is impossible to deny Higgins’ place at the high table of all-time best competitors that snooker has ever produced.

Saturday’s showdown with O’Sullivan renewed a long rivalry which dated back even before the pair both turned professional in 1992.

O’Sullivan had boasted a superior head-to-head record, including having emerged victorious in more finals, but Higgins always looked on top as he returned for the evening session 5-4 down.

In a final of superb quality which certainly lived up to the billing, a break of 50 or more was made in every frame bar one.

When O’Sullivan compiled a 130 to pull the match back to 7-7 following the last mid-session interval it appeared as though a decider was becoming inevitable.

However, just like seven days ago when Higgins overcame Stuart Bingham in China, the ‘Wizard of Wishaw’ dominated the final three frames with a hat-trick of frame winning contributions to gain glory.

It will be fascinating to see whether Higgins can maintain this form heading into the Christmas and New Year period when the prestigious UK Championship and Masters are contested.

For O’Sullivan, it marks a second occasion in as many month that he has been denied a trophy at the final hurdle.

This will damage his pride, but he can take solace in the fact that he performed much better this weekend than arguably at any other time during the season so far.

Overall, the latest edition of the increasingly popular Champion of Champions was a pretty solid success.

Crowd levels were decent throughout the week and excellent during the final when the atmosphere was understandably electric for two of the game’s longest and most successful servants.

ITV4’s coverage continues to be excellent, particularly in terms of offering insight where it is especially unrivaled across all platforms.

Next stop on the busy calendar is Belfast for the second event in the Home Nations series, where Liang Wenbo will be hoping to prolong his chances of bagging the £1 million bonus for winning all four of the UK and Ireland opens.

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