World Snooker Championship Final

World Snooker Championship Final: John Higgins vs Judd Trump

The 2019 World Snooker Championship final will be contested between John Higgins and Judd Trump at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

The pair emerged from their respective semi-final affairs to set up a repeat of the 2011 final, in which Higgins claimed the last of his four world crowns.

In the penultimate round, the Scot demonstrated all of his trademark battling qualities to deny David Gilbert in a dramatic decider.

An epic 17-16 battle saw the advantage in the last session ebb one way and then the other, a sequence that was mirrored in the final frame shoot-out as Higgins denied the challenger in a nail-biting and emotional finish.

It was a cruel way for Gilbert to be denied and, at almost 38, one wonders if the Englishman will ever gain a better chance to reach this stage again.

For Higgins, the world number five advances to an eighth career title decider in Sheffield and a third in a row after defeats in each of the last two World Championship finals.

Those painful losses against Mark Selby in 2017 and Mark Williams twelve months ago led to one of Higgins’ worst spells of his long and illustrious professional career.

His form took a seismic nosedive and the possibility of retirement appeared like a genuine possibility.

But there’s a now familiar motto in snooker to “never write off John Higgins” and the 43 year-old once again has proved his doubters, even if this time it included himself, totally wrong.

One wonders how Higgins would handle making it a hat-trick of final reversals but that’s for another day, as for now the former world number one finds himself well in the hunt to etch his name onto the trophy for a fifth time.

Trump, of course, is bidding to experience his engraving for what many believe to be a long overdue first time.

The 29 year-old didn’t perform at his best for most of his last four fixture with surprise package Gary Wilson.

However, Trump cut a more mature figure than in years gone by as he patiently took his opportunities to win 17-11 and move within one victory of that elusive Crucible crown.

With glories in the UK Championship and the Masters – only recently tasted at the Alexandra Palace in January – under his belt, success on Monday evening would see Trump become only the eleventh member of the Triple Crown club.

That success in London a few months ago, in which he thoroughly dismantled a formidable Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final, has injected Trump with rejuvenated belief in his ability and credentials within the sport.

Since then, there has been an escalating sense that the ten-time ranking event winner is becoming the kind of all-round competitor that could finally begin to stamp his authority on the majors on a more frequent basis.

The proof has been in his displays during this fortnight, when he has rarely been producing his A-level but has still been able to get the job done when required.

This World Snooker Championship final will revive memories of Higgins and Trump’s memorable clash eight years ago at the same hurdle.

The atmosphere created on the night of the final session was unlike any other ever conjured at the Crucible.

On that occasion, a youthful Trump was just announcing himself to a mainstream audience but his inexperience represented the pivotal difference in the end.

While the granite of Higgins on the table hasn’t altered too much in the interim, Trump has replaced his former brand of “naughty snooker” with a more measured all-round approach that arguably makes him the favourite in this repeat showdown.

Higgins, though, boasts a far superior head-to-head record from their previous fixtures – including last year in another World Championship meeting when he edged Trump in a quarter-final deciding frame belter.

In fact, Trump hasn’t overcome Higgins in his last four attempts and it’ll be interesting to see if that poor return could prove to be a factor in May Bank Holiday Monday’s outcome.

This edition of the sport’s blue riband showpiece has generated numerous headlines and, despite all the upsets from the early rounds, the final will be played between two of the game’s very best players.

Which cueist emerges triumphantly will as much come down to a strong temperament as it will the performance on the baize.

Is this the year that Trump proves that he possesses both, or will Higgins underline his status as one of the best match play cueists of all time?

After a month’s marathon in Sheffield, we’re within 35 frames of learning the answer.

Live coverage of the World Snooker Championship final is on the BBC, Eurosport, and on Facebook (selected countries).

Click here to view the draw.

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