Snooker: Higgins crowns triumphant return with victory in Germany

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The Independent Online

John Higgins celebrated a successful return to professional snooker last night after easing to victory in the final of his comeback tournament in Germany.

The Scot, playing in his first event since his recent six-month ban came to an end, beat Shaun Murphy 4-2 in the final of the Euro Players Tour Championship in Hamm.

"I just came here hoping to get a few matches under my belt, so I'm delighted to win it," said Higgins. "I had to be realistic, as the other players had all been competing regularly for four or five months."

Higgins set the tone for the final with an opening break of 132 before he moved two frames clear on the back of a 66. Murphy responded with breaks of 64 and 50 to pull level, but Higgins recovered with efforts of 95 and 53, which were enough to get him across the line.

The 35-year-old was playing in his first tournament since April after being suspended following allegations made against him by the News of the World. He was cleared of match-fixing in September but fined £75,000 after admitting breaching rules around betting.

"I'm delighted, not just for me but for my family and friends," Higgins added. "The reception from the snooker community was exceptionally warm and encouraging. I didn't expect anything else – these are players I have known for years. They know John Higgins and I know them."

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