Higgins caps improbable fightback

John Higgins pulled off a brilliant recovery to defeat Mark Williams 9-8 and claim the Grand Prix title in nail-biting fashion in Preston last night.

John Higgins pulled off a brilliant recovery to defeat Mark Williams 9-8 and claim the Grand Prix title in nail-biting fashion in Preston last night.

Higgins looked down and out after going 6-2 behind but produced a gutsy fightback to land the £62,000 first prize and win his 17th major title.

The world number one won five frames in a row and then came back from 8-7 down to take the trophy, his 12th world ranking title and second Grand Prix crown.

A delighted Higgins admitted: "I can't believe I've won. I was fuming going back to the hotel after the first session having missed so many balls.

"I was just hoping to win three of the first four frames in the final session to get back to 7-5 so to win four on the spin was a huge bonus. It's a brilliant feeling to have held myself together at the end. To beat someone of Mark's ability like that is fantastic.

"It's probably the best night I've had in my snooker career apart from winning the World Championship."

Higgins was completely out of sorts in the latter part of the first session despite making a bright start to the final. The Scot had compiled breaks of 64 and 55 to lead 2-1 but seriously lost his way as Williams reeled off five frames in a row.

Welshman Williams contributed runs of 82, 73 and 42 in building a 6-2 first session lead as a frustrated Higgins conceded the eighth frame trailing by only 47 points with a possible 59 remaining.

But the evening session was a different story as a revitalised Higgins launched an awesome comeback to take the lead again.

When Williams missed the green in the ninth frame, Higgins pounced to clear up and knocked in quick fire breaks of 68, 53 and 78 to level at 6-6.

It was now Williams, winner of three world ranking titles last season, who began to miss a succession of chances and, exploiting this sudden loss of confidence, Higgins added the 13th frame to edge 7-6 in front.

A touch of good fortune restored the edge to Williams' game when Higgins inadvertently knocked the yellow in from a safety in frame 14. Williams potted the brown as free ball and made a break of 65 to level at 7-7.

The left-hander then re-established his authority by comfortably claiming the next to lead 8-7 but a dogged Higgins made 66 to force the final to a deciding frame.

Williams failed to pot a ball in the last as Higgins made vital runs of 30 and 45 to add the 1999 Grand Prix title to his earlier victory in 1994.

Williams would have gone to number one in the provisional rankings had he won the title.

He said: "I had my chances to win and it was pressure in the end that cost me. I probably bottled it a little bit which is why I don't think I'm quite good enough to get the number one spot yet."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
video
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Extras
indybest
News
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
education
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
sport
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sport
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Sport
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform