After 30 Years An Amateur, Lilley Finally Turns Pro!

Higgins Into Guangzhou Final

John Higgins reached the final of the Evergrande China Championship by beating Lyu Haotian 6-3 in Guangzhou.

Scotland’s 43-year-old Higgins will face Mark Selby or Zhao Xintong in Sunday’s final, with the winner to bank £150,000.

Higgins will be playing in the 49th ranking final of his career and aiming for his 31st title. His most recent came at the Welsh Open in March.

World number four Higgins has been far from his best this week, failing to make a century in the tournament so far. But his matchplay skills and gritty determination have carried him all the way to the final.

He built a 5-1 lead today with top breaks of 57, 57 and 59. China’s 20-year-old Lyu, who had hoped to reach his first ranking final, pulled two frames back, before Higgins sealed the result with a run of 62 in the ninth.

”The conditions today were beautiful, having been difficult earlier in the week,” said Higgins. “That threw Lyu just a bit more than me, he was hitting everything thick because the table was so reactive.

“If Lyu had played today the same way he did in the quarter-finals I would have been in for a really tough game. But luckily for me he wasn’t at his best and I just picked up the pieces. I don’t know how I’m in the final but obviously I’m delighted.

“It looked as if it might go 5-4 at the end but I made a good break, that was the most pleasing thing of the match for me. If I play Mark Selby in the final then I’ll be a big under-dog, the way I’m playing.”

Lyu said: “I missed some easy balls early on and struggled to get position throughout the match. I need to learn a lot from top players like Higgins because they stay in the match and turn it around when things are not going well.”