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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 May 2007, 07:23 GMT 08:23 UK
Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
21 April-7 May 2007

By Saj Chowdhury
BBC Sport at The Crucible

All good snooker players go through a slump in form; great players come out of it.

John Higgins
Higgins celebrates arguably his greatest triumph
John Higgins is a great player.

By adding a second world crown to the one he picked up in 1998, the 31-year-old joins an elite list of players - Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan - who have won the title on more than one occasion at The Crucible.

It brings the number of ranking titles he has won to 18.

The "Wizard of Wishaw" has also made over 350 centuries at a competitive level and five 147s, two in consecutive matches - a feat never before achieved.

Stephen Maguire, who Higgins beat in the semi-final, regards his fellow Scot as the best player he has ever played against.

Former Crucible champion Dennis Taylor says he "he is one of the game's greatest break-builders."

But while Higgins has graced the sport and the sport has graced him with financial rewards, he has also suffered during a barren patch between 2001 and 2004.

For a man of his talents, three years without a ranking title, at a time when many thought he should have been at the peak of his career, was startling.

Many thought the birth of his two sons had taken the player's mind off snooker, while Higgins himself laid the blame of his loss of form on alcohol.

"When I had a drink in the past I didn't know when to stop - the British culture I guess," he said.

"There were times I'd go to watch Celtic then have a few drinks after football and go on to a club.

"Then I'd get a hangover and it took a couple of days to clear. Now that I've given up alcohol I'm feeling much better."

It was an unbelievable feeling when I crossed that winning line

John Higgins on beating Mark Selby

The Scot returned with a bang in 2005 when he romped to victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan in the season's curtain-raiser, the Grand Prix.

He secured a remarkable 9-2 victory that saw him score 494 points without answer, and four consecutive centuries.

"It really was unbelievable. I've never seen anything like that before," said O'Sullivan.

He then went on to beat O'Sullivan 10-9 in the final of the Masters, a match that many regard as one of the greatest ever finals.

But for sheer dogged determination and guts his performance in the 2007 Crucible final against Selby will surely go down as his greatest victory ever.

To be pegged back from 12-4 up to 14-13 would shatter mere mortals, but Higgins believed he played the best four frames of his life to secure victory at 0054 BST.

"It was an unbelievable feeling when I crossed that winning line - I was under so much pressure," said the Scot.

"I was gone in the third session, I couldn't get hold of the cueball at all.

"But then in the last four frames I was so calm, I don't know where I got that calmness from.

"It was my best tournament ever; the way I held myself together, the way I beat Stephen Maguire and Ronnie O'Sullivan and the way I took those last four frames. It was amazing."

Higgins is back, with a bang.

Higgins v Selby as it happened
07 May 07 |  Snooker
Classy Higgins books final berth
05 May 07 |  Snooker


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