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Page last updated at 22:35 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 23:35 UK

Murphy stunned by rampant Higgins

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live.


John Higgins

Video - Higgins takes control of final

John Higgins was in cruise control after a blistering evening session to lead Shaun Murphy 11-5 in the World Championship final at The Crucible.

Resuming at 4-4, Higgins won the last six frames and needs just seven more on Monday to win his third world crown.

The first two frames were shared, and with both missing easy pots, Murphy seemed stronger than the jaded Scot.

But Higgins hit back with a 95, taking control with a 128 and a 51, before another 128 wrapped up proceedings.

No player has come back from 11-5 in the final to be world champion at The Crucible, so Murphy will be making history if he gets his hands on the trophy again to add to his 2005 title.

606: DEBATE
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Although Higgins had taken the first three frames of the match, the way Murphy responded with a 109 to make it 3-3, and then to make it 4-4, did not seem to suggest the Scot would dominate so much later on.

The 1998 and 2007 champion from Wishaw began the night with a comfortable 57 but only a miss on an easy brown denied Murphy the chance to take the opener.

But Murphy remained focused and struck back with a 52 to level the match.

The final still remained a relatively flat affair with both players missing a number of easy shots.

But Higgins, although appearing extremely weary, stepped up his performance and grabbed a two-frame lead, including a magnificent 95 just before the mid-session interval.

The break may have helped Murphy to avert a Neil Robertson comeback on Saturday, but Higgins was rapidly moving up through the gears.

MATCH STATS - MURPHY : HIGGINS
Balls potted: 178/203 : 304/334
Pot success: 88% : 91%
Safety success: 88% : 91%
Long pot success: 46% : 60%
Rest success: 85% : 88%
Table time: 46% : 54%
Total points: 617 : 1113
Ave shot duration (s): 29: 23

A 128 break stretched his lead to four frames, a 51 in the next edged him further ahead and he left the best to last with another 128 to finish the opening day.

It was Higgins's 11th century of the championship - one more than Mark Selby, Mark Allen and Murphy, and the 83rd of this record-breaking tournament.

The 33-year-old Scot is aiming to join Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Spencer on three world titles, with only Stephen Hendry (seven), Steve Davis (six) and Ray Reardon (six) more successful in the modern era.

It was a fabulous and typically gritty performance from a player who had to overcome two 13-12 last-frame deciders against Jamie Cope and Mark Selby, as well as seeing off a terrific fightback from Allen in the semi-finals.

Only a drastic shift in fortunes can now prevent Higgins from holding the world trophy aloft again on Monday night.



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see also
Higgins v Murphy as it happened
04 May 09 |  Snooker
Murphy resists Robertson comeback
02 May 09 |  Snooker
Higgins downs Allen to make final
02 May 09 |  Snooker
Snooker's new aggressive breed
30 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Murphy ousts Hendry to make semis
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Hendry behind despite 147 break
28 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Ruthless Murphy crushes feeble Fu
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Distracted Murphy beats Higginson
22 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Crucible photos
26 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship latest scores
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker


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