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World Snooker 2009

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
18 April-4 May 2009

John Higgins and his wife and family

Video - Higgins wins third world title (UK users only)

By Mark Ashenden

John Higgins had few problems wrapping up a crushing 18-9 victory over Shaun Murphy to win his third World Championship in dominant style.

The Scot became the sixth player to win three or more titles in the modern era, having also triumphed in 1998 and 2007.

Murphy rarely threatened after Higgins led 11-5 overnight and won five of Monday afternoon's eight frames.

Resuming the final session 16-8 up, the 'Wizard of Wishaw' took little time to seal it, finishing with a break of 73.

"It is amazing," Higgins said, surrounded by his wife and three children. "When I won it for the first time in 1998, it took so long to win it again. Now, a couple of years later, to win it again is brilliant."


His final break came to an end with just the colours remaining, denying him what would have been his 12th century of the tournament.

But he had done more than enough and, as he prepares to turn 34 on 18 May, became the oldest Crucible champion since Dennis Taylor triumphed at the age of 36 in 1985 against Steve Davis.

Although the final was a largely lacklustre occasion with the expected fireworks failing to arrive, it was the climax of a magnificent tournament.

There were a record-breaking 83 centuries - easily surpassing the previous mark of 68 set two years ago - and young players such as Jamie Cope and Mark Allen really impressed on the sport's biggest stage.

The only minor wobble for Higgins in the final came in Sunday's opening session, when Murphy hit back with four in a row after Higgins had cruised to the first three frames.

Finalists agree second session swung it

There were brief signs then that his two 13-12 last-frame deciders against Cope and Mark Selby, and then the comeback by Allen in the semi-finals, may have taken their toll.

However, any doubts were blown away by the end of Sunday, with two breaks of 128 in the final three frames of the day giving him an 11-5 lead and Murphy a mountain climb when they resumed on Monday.

"The second session made the difference really," Higgins noted. "Shaun missed a couple of balls he normally wouldn't miss and I just managed to get in there and pinch a couple of frames.

"I got a good run of the balls in that session and that is what swung it my way."

Murphy, champion in 2005, had chances in all sessions, but was unable to produce the fantastic long potting he had shown in earlier rounds, which included victory over a rejuvenated Stephen Hendry.

Although he showed great determination on Monday with a 91 and a 79, his gritty opponent, whose highest break in the afternoon was only 61, still managed to win five of the eight frames available.

Shaun Murphy and John Higgins
Murphy (left) had nothing but compliments for the new champion

Murphy battled on, but a brave and gutsy 59, to make it 17-9, merely delayed the inevitable.

Higgins took little time to make an effortless 73 to send a large portion of the Sheffield arena into a frenzy.

He now joins Ronnie O'Sullivan and the late John Spencer with three world titles to his name, although still has a little work to do to catch up with Stephen Hendry (seven), Davis (six) and Ray Reardon (six).

"John's tactical and safety play is just the best I have ever played against," said Murphy, who won this season's UK Championship, the sport's second biggest prize.

"He had me in all sorts of trouble and all credit to the guy - he is the best tactical player I have ever seen.

"It is a 17-day tournament, and the first 15-and-a-half days of it were fantastic for me. The last day-and-a-half I am not so pleased with, but I can't let that ruin what has been a great season."

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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
Higgins deserved victory - Cope
05 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
05 May 09 |  Snooker
World Championship final - scores
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker

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