John Higgins is the 2012 Shanghai Masters champion, following a thrilling final against Judd Trump today. The triumph earns Higgins the top prize of £75,000, as well as seeing him climb to top spot in the last projected seedings, third in the official rankings…
Following a brilliant performance in the opening session (read here), world number two Judd Trump came into the evening session needing just three frames to earn his third career ranking title and first since the 2011 UK Championship.
As I had said earlier however, you can never write off John Higgins and he proved that again with a sensational display in the second session, winning the first six frames to lead for the first time in the match at 8-7. He did so with breaks of 89, 74, 48, 30 and 76 to take all four frames before the interval, before runs of 71 and 48 put him ahead.
Having scored just 92 points during those six frames, many were quick to write off the challenge of opponent Trump, but to his utmost credit he produced a sensational break of 105 to stop the rot and draw level again at 8-8, an excellent effort under the circumstances.
With the match reduced to a best of three, Higgins moved one away from victory thanks to a break of 64, though Judd did have a chance to come back at him before undercutting the black from the penultimate red. Judd though continued to fight, snatching a tension-filled 18th frame after Higgins had gone in-off when attempting the pink.
First chance in the decider fell to Trump, who made 36 before running out of position and playing what looked to be a reasonable safety. Higgins though had other ideas, an excellent opening red, paving the way for a magnificent match-winning break of 65, highlighted by his shot to bring the final red into play, followed by the pot on it up into the green pocket.
The comeback caps what has been a perfect week for John Higgins, who let’s not forget, had not been beyond the quarter-final stages of a ranking event since his victory over Trump at the 2011 World Championship. Following a difficult 2011/12 season during which he admitted to not having put in the required work on the practice table, there were doubters out there who were beginning to write him off, but he has answered those doubters in the best way possible by taking a 25th career ranking event title this week.
The result also moves John up to the top of the projected seedings, though due to the way that the points are deducted from the rankings, he remains third officially at the time of writing, closing the gap on Mark Selby at the top. It’s good to see him back.
As for Judd Trump, another positive week on the whole, indeed he has played as well as I have seen him in 2012, combining both his prodigious potting with the level of safety that helped him to victory at the 2011 China Open, and I do not think that it will be long before we see him with another trophy in his hands. He will be disappointed to lose from 7-2 up today, but it wasn’t that Judd lost the final, but Higgins came out tonight and won it.
The snooker circus now moves on to the APTC2 event, indeed I noticed the first round results from that event appearing in my Twitter timeline today, with the final coming up on Thursday.