John Higgins came from 5-1 down to beat Judd Trump 6-5 in an enthralling semi-final at the Coral Scottish Open in Glasgow
One of the best matches of the season so far saw Englishman Trump storm to the brink of victory, before Braveheart Higgins stormed back to win five frames in a row, sealing victory with a brilliant clearance in the deciding frame. Just a few miles from his Wishaw home, he’ll get the chance to battle for the title and £70,000 top prize tomorrow against Marco Fu or Yu Delu.
Victory on Sunday would give Higgins his third title in six weeks having won the China Championship and Champion of Champions in November. He’s also gunning for a 29th career ranking title, which would put him ahead of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis on the all time list, and within seven of the record of 36 held by Stephen Hendry, who will present the trophy tomorrow evening.
All that looked unlikely for 41-year-old Higgins when his opponent dominated the early stages. Trump’s break of 132 gave him the opening frame and he cleared with 70 in the second after Higgins had accidentally hit the pink when trying to pot a red on 56. World number three Higgins got a foothold with an 88 clearance in the next, but he could do little as Trump fired runs of 126, 99 and 112 to surge 5-1 in front.
But the tide turned in Higgins’ favour as Trump scored just six points in the next four frames. Breaks of 110 and 52 got Higgins back to 5-3 and he dominated two more fragmented frames to level at 5-5.
World number four Trump had the first clear chance in the decider and he made 38 before missing a long pot on a red to a baulk corner. Higgins got the better of a tactical exchange, and when his chances came he seized it nervelessly with a run of 68 which brought the handshake.
“It always seems to happen with Judd, we have some amazing games,” said Higgins, who beat Trump 10-9 from 7-2 down in the 2012 Shanghai Masters final. “There will be a time within the next year or two when he starts getting the better of me all the time, so I’m just trying to hang on in there. He was unbelievable to go 5-1 up, he was blitzing me and there wasn’t much I could do.
“When it got to 5-3 I thought I had a little chance. There was professional pride for me, playing here in Scotland in front of my friends and family, so I wanted to make it as hard as I could for him. During the break in the last frame I was shaking like a leaf. I ran out of position and thought I had thrown it away but I potted a good red to a baulk pocket to keep it going.
“It’s good to have the rest of the evening to relax and get ready for tomorrow. Marco is favourite to win tonight but Yu Delu will fancy going all the way. Stephen Hendry was one of my heroes growing up so if I was to receive the trophy from him tomorrow night it would cap off my career.”
Bristol’s Trump said: “I’m devastated. I didn’t do a lot wrong. A couple of times John missed balls but left everything safe. Every time I play him when I have a big lead he starts flying. He missed balls and made mistakes but he got away with it every time so that was frustrating. He made a good clearance in the last frame.”