Hig­gins holds edge over favourite Selby

New Straits Times - - Sport -

SH­EFFIELD: John Hig­gins up­set the form book to lead ti­tle-holder Mark Selby 10-7 in the World Cham­pi­onship fi­nal on Sun­day.

Selby, bid­ding to win his third world ti­tle, found him­self 6-2 down against four-time cham­pion Hig­gins come the end of the first ses­sion at the Cru­cible The­atre in Sh­effield, north­ern Eng­land.

But with the show­piece match a best of 35 frames con­test, come­backs from large early deficits are pos­si­ble — as Dennis Tay­lor proved when re­cov­er­ing from 8-0 down to beat Steve Davis in a black-ball fin­ish in the last frame of the 1985 fi­nal.

And Selby, per­haps the tough­est match-player in the game to­day, duly fought back, with the English­man win­ning the fi­nal three of the day in a match that was to be played to a fin­ish yes­ter­day.

Nev­er­the­less, it was still an im­pres­sive start from the 41-year-old Hig­gins, bid­ding to be­come the old­est world cham­pion since snooker great Ray Rear­don won the last of his six ti­tles aged 45 in 1978.

The Scot, play­ing his first world fi­nal since he beat Judd Trump six years ago, was quickly into his stride and a break of 141 in the fourth frame saw Hig­gins dis­play­ing all his old class.

Con­tri­bu­tions of 63 and 95 put Hig­gins 4-2 up and he ended the ses­sion by edg­ing a tight eighth frame.

Hig­gins was 10-4 up at one stage but Selby, be­ly­ing his pre­vi­ous poor form, hit back with breaks of 81 and 121 be­fore win­ning Sun­day’s fi­nal frame for good mea­sure.

Scot­land's John Hig­gins.

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