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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...