Trump wins first world title with stunning victory over Higgins
Judd Trump has won his first world title with an emphatic 18-9 final victory over four-time winner John Higgins at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.
In what is arguably the highest standard of any match witnessed at the venue, Bristol’s Trump hit seven centuries with Higgins contributing four in an astonishing exhibition of heavy scoring.
There were 12 other breaks of over 50 as Trump largely outplayed Higgins, who performed impressively despite being on the wrong end of a heavy defeat.
Resuming 16-9 clear from Monday afternoon’s third session, seventh seed Trump pieced together another glistening break of 94 to win the opening frame of the evening to increase his lead to 17-9, and move one frame from the winning line. A 62 break in the 27th frame was enough to finish matters off.
It was the biggest winning margin in a final since Higgins beat Shaun Murphy by the same score in 2009.
"It was an amazing final, the standard from the very first ball," said Trump. "I always raise my standard against John... that is probably the best I have ever played in a major final."
Higgins admitted he had no answer to Trump's flawless display. "It will be the first of many I am sure, to produce a standard like that is incredible," said Higgins. "He was unplayable.
Trump collects a cheque for £500,000, ensuring he becomes the first player to break the £1m mark for prize money earned in a single season having lifted the Masters, the Northern Ireland Open and the World Grand Prix.
But it is the World Championship trophy that allows him to fulfil his lifetime ambition in the sport eight years after his last appearance in the final, an 18-15 loss to Higgins in the 2011 final.
THIRD SESSION REPORT
Judd Trump has moved to within two frames of the world title after galloping 16-9 clear of John Higgins at the Crucible Theatre.
Both players produced another superb session of snooker, but Trump - boosted by an immaculate 8-1 rout that carried him 12-5 clear on Sunday night - maintained his seven-frame advantage by winning the final frame of the afternoon courtesy of the final's 11th century, a record for any final played at the Sheffield venue since 1977.
In danger of being wiped out with a session to spare, Higgins made breaks of 113 - a run that saw him miss the black before the colours as a 147 break came up narrowly short - and 59 to close to 12-7 behind, but Trump quickly responded with some of his trademark flair as rapid knocks of 101 and 71 carried him 14-7 to the good at the mid-session interval.
A 126 effort from 29-year-old Trump was good enough for a 15-7 lead leaving him three short with three frames of the session to play.
Higgins responded in typically gritty fashion as breaks of 67 and 70 won two frames back-to-back, but Trump had the final telling say as a glorious break of 104 saw him mount a 147 bid until a red to a middle pocket just stayed out.
They resume at 7pm with Trump expected to complete a swift victory against the four-times champion Higgins, whose hopes were realistically ended by winning only one frame in the second session.
The standard of the final has been extraordinary. Higgins - who has arguably played better than in defeat to Mark Selby and Mark Williams in the previous two finals - has hit four centuries so far, but has been forced to admire Trump's classy all-round game without doing much wrong.
The Bristolian has turned the final into an exhibition with seven centuries carrying the total for the tournament to 100, a record in the modern era.
SECOND SESSION REPORT
Judd Trump won eight straight frames to open up a 12-5 lead over John Higgins after an astonishing display of powerhouse scoring at the Crucible.
It leaves the 29-year-old Bristolian needing only six more frames when the pair play eight more frames on Monday afternoon at 2pm.
Trump left Higgins a spectator in his chair for most of the evening as the four-times world champion saw any fluency in his game completely smashed to smithereens by Trump's scoring and tactical nous.
Higgins opened the second session with a brilliant break of 125 - his third century of the final - to move 5-4 clear. What followed was an exhibition by Trump of cue ball control and break-building as Higgins was left to sit and suffer in his third straight appearance in the final.
Breaks of 135, 114, 71, 58 and 70 helped Trump win the session 8-1, but there was so much more to his display than merely heavy break-building.
Unless there is a minor miracle on Bank Holiday Monday, Trump will become the first man to lift the world title in his 20s since Neil Robertson in 2010. Trump turns 30 in August.
Higgins must hope Trump goes down several gears if he is to stand any chance of clawing this back.
The final could even finish with a session to spare if Trump wins six of the eight frames due to be played on Monday afternoon.
The winner will pick up £500,000 which would carry Trump's season's earnings over £1m, the first player to break seven figure earnings in one campaign.
FIRST SESSION REPORT
Judd Trump and John Higgins finished the first session of their World Championship final level at 4-4 amid a sweltering of heavy scoring at the Crucible Theatre.
Four centuries and three breaks over 50 in eight frames got the final off to a brilliant start in Sheffield on Sunday afternoon.
Breaks of 51 and 63 saw the Masters champion win the first two frames before Higgins - world champion in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011 - pieced together a splendid 139 to claim his first frame of the final after a re-rack.
A 105 handed Trump a 3-1 lead, but four-times world champion Higgins emerged from the mid-session interval in determined fashion with runs of 69 and 101 helping the Scotsman establish a 4-3 advantage with his opponent making only eight points in three frames.
But Trump - who lost the 2011 final 18-15 to Higgins - produced a rapid and brilliant knock of 103 to level again at 4-4.
They play nine more frames on Sunday evening with the second session beginning at 7pm.
Bristol's Trump is chasing his first world title with Higgins bidding to become champion again at the age of 43, 21 years after his first success.
It would be the longest time span of any world champion in the game's history.