"It's hard to win any tournament these days with the quality of players around but I'm over the moon about winning the Welsh Open for a second time [having previously lifted the crown in 2000].
"The crowd here are one of the best. The Newport Centre is a great arena to play in."
The victory leaves Higgins primed to overtake O'Sullivan as the world number one.
The Scot now leads his English counterpart in the provisional rankings and can guarantee top spot for the 2010/11 season by matching O'Sullivan's performance at the China Open in March.
The 11th frame, won by Carter, proved to be an extraordinary potting exhibition. Higgins opened with a break of 72, before missing a tough frame ball after potting nine reds and nine blacks as he set his sights on a 147 maximum.
Higgins rejoices after winning Welsh Open
Carter stepped to the table to coolly pot the six remaining reds and the colours for a break of 73 to win the frame by a single point.
That was as good as it got for Carter, however. The faintest sniff of a comeback appeared on the cards at 7-4, but Higgins won two in a row to seal his crown.
Carter said: "I was under all sorts of pressure and I was just glad to make a game of it. I would have been glad to get back to 7-5, but he's done me 9-4 in the end.
"The crowd have been great this week and I am disappointed I couldn't keep my title, but I had a good go."
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