Snooker News

John Higgins Wins Indian Open

John Higgins beat fellow Scotsman Anthony McGill 5-1 to win the 2017 Indian Open on Saturday.

John Higgins India 17 (WS)

Higgins’ highest break in a cagey final was just 71. Photo credit: World Snooker

In doing so, the 42 year-old moved into second on his own on the all-time ranking event winners’ list with 29 titles – ahead of Steve Davis and Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Only Stephen Hendry remains ahead of the four-time world champion but there’s a quite a ways to go to catch his compatriot, who bagged an impressive 36 trophies during a glittering career.

Higgins has conjured up quite a career himself, and there doesn’t seem to be any winding down in his elder years as he continues to compete for silverware on a regular basis.

It might have been almost two years since the former world number one captured his last ranking crown at the 2015 International Championship, but last season he was successful in three invitationals – two of them extremely lucrative in the inaugural China Championship and the Champion of Champions in Coventry.

With a depleted field in India and many of the marquee names absent, Higgins began the week in Visakhapatnam as the favourite and he duly delivered with a convincing display in the final.

It was a one-sided affair, with Higgins typically dominating the scrappy exchanges to put an end to McGill’s reign in the subcontinent.

The latter fell just short of becoming a rare back-to-back champion in a ranking event, but it was still a superb week for the 26 year-old, who edged Mark King in a gruelling semi-final encounter earlier in the day 4-3.

Higgins’ two most difficult tests came from young Chinese competitors, with Zhao Xintong coming closest to ousting him in his opening hurdle at the outset of the tournament.

In the semi-finals, surprise package Xu Si shared the opening four frames before Higgins pulled away with the aid of timely 102 century break.

With victory, the “Wizard of Wishaw” earns a neat £50,000 and moves back into second on the world rankings list behind runaway leader Mark Selby.

It’s difficult to sufficiently compliment Higgins’ longevity in the sport, with countless glorious moment simply coming as second nature to a player of his calibre.

The World Championship runner-up has only a couple of days to celebrate, with an upcoming tie against Alexander Ursenbacher in the World Open on Tuesday.

But he’ll certainly enjoy the moment and being back in the champion’s circle again, while to be ahead of the likes of O’Sullivan and Davis in the record books is quite an accomplishment indeed.

Overall the Indian Open was a decent tournament that provided a worthy champion amid various interesting subplots.

McGill’s offered an excellent defence while four players made their debut appearance in a ranking event quarter-tinal, and Ken Doherty continued his shock resurgence this campaign by reaching the last 16.

On we immediately go to the next event in Yushan, where several of the heavy hitters will be back in action with a whopping £150,000 at stake for the champion.

More on that tomorrow.

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