Higgins v Day – Which way will it go?

So it’s final day at the Grand Prix as John Higgins and Ryan Day come up against each other in Glasgow, but which way will it go? Here are a few factors that might come into play…

John Higgins

Yes he will win it
  • His experience – in his 31st ranking event final, only two men have been in more finals than John during the last thirty years. I think this was key in his semi-final against Judd Trump when the youngster made it 4-4 and he kept calm and stepped it up a gear.
  • His pedigree – A double world champion and one of the best players ever to have played the game, it is hard to ever bet against John. Also looking to win this title for the fourth time.
  • His tactical nous – In my opinion the best tactician in the game having taken over the mantle from Steve Davis, this could be key against Ryan if things get scrappy. Ali Carter showed last night that the Welshman can be vulnerable in such a situation and there is no better player to take advantage than John.
  • Home comforts – Staying at home for the duration of this tournament and with a partisan crowd behind him, John has obviously enjoyed having his family watching him all week and this might just give him the lift he needs if things are going against him.
No he will not
  • Form – Despite his class, he hasn’t actually played that well recently, or during this tournament. It is his first final since the 2007 World Championship and he has been vulnerable to a few mistakes this season
  • Head to head – Yes he has a 4-2 lead in matches with Ryan Day, but it is the Welshman who has won the most recent two, on the big stage at the Crucible as well as in the last event, the Shanghai Masters. Is Ryan starting to get the upper hand.

Ryan Day

Yes he will win it
  • Form this week – By far the best performer this week, with five centuries in his last two matches, Ryan looks devastating when in the balls at the moment and John’s safety game will have to be at its sharpest
  • Form generally – He has been knocking on the door for a while now and in his third ranking final, perhaps now is the time for him to take advantage? Either way he is up to number three in the provisional rankings and generally becoming a real threat these days.
  • Nothing to lose – Ryan in many respects has nothing to lose and with John probably the favourite, with the added pressure of his home crowd, Ryan could be just the man to upset the order
  • Bottle – Having already come through three deciding frame finishes this week, Ryan has shown that he is mentally strong and capable of holding his nerve when the pressure is on. Not that John isn’t of course…
Nope, not this time
  • The occasion – In his first final in a BBC event, his third in general, perhaps the pressure might just prove too much for Ryan. Maybe it won’t be John, but the fear of what he might achieve that will cause him to crack
  • His safety game – It has improved, but his tactical game and his shot selection is still not perfect. Against John Higgins he will have to consistently get that white on the baulk cushion or he could find himself in trouble
  • The winning line – Related to the occasion, having not yet won a ranking event title, Ryan has yet to prove that he is capable of winning big events like this.

It will be very interesting to see how it turns out, could definitely go either way. I’m going to say that I think Ryan Day might make it third time lucky and take that elusive first title, perhaps 9-7, maybe even 9-8…