John Higgins beats David Gilbert to win International Championship
John Higgins beat David Gilbert 10-5 to win the 2015 International Championship in Daqing on Sunday.
Higgins won the 28th ranking title of his career – matching the tally of Steve Davis – after pulling away from a 4-4 tie and winning six of the final seven frames to take the match and the trophy.
His winners' cheque of £125,000 is the biggest on offer outside of the United Kingdom, and is also the 40-year-old's biggest payday since he won his fourth world title in 2011.
“It’s a special moment for me to get to 28 ranking titles,” said Higgins, who turned pro in 1992.
" Steve Davis was my hero growing up and back then I would never have dreamed I could equal any of his records. It’s a moment I will never forget. Stephen Hendry is still well out in front and maybe I won’t get to 36, but you never know. I’ve won three this year so if I keep doing that it will only take me three more years. I love snooker and I don’t think I’ll ever retire."
“I think this has been the best I have ever played continually throughout a whole tournament. I only played one bad mini-session against Michael Holt. The way I played against Murphy and Selby – I can’t play much better than that.
“Today was David’s first final and he should be proud of himself because he played some great frames. It was a closer match than 10-5 suggests. He’s got a taste for it now and hopefully he’ll have many more finals.
“I’ve had spells in my career where I have not won a tournament for three or four years, then I’ve had bursts where I have won a few. I’m very pleased to have won three this year, it’s a great achievement given how many great players are out there.
“My next goal is to win another world title. If I can produce that sort of form I’ll have a good chance at Sheffield.”
Gilbert said: “It feels strange to say I’m disappointed to lose in a final because I’ve never got close to one before. I had my chances but I missed a few, and John kept clearing up. It was in the back of my mind not to miss because I knew he’d always punish me, and sometimes the harder you try, the harder the game gets.
“At least I’m going home with £65,000, which is more money than I’ve ever seen. My wife moved into our new house this week so I’m sure she’s already ordering new carpets and furniture.
“I just want to say thank you to the people of Daqing for being so kind to me, it has been a great event and the conditions have been superb. It was a great atmosphere tonight and I hope we come back next year.”