Snooker: Relieved Higgins to meet Murphy

John Higgins, pursuing his third world title, secured his place in the final of the World Championship with a 17-13 defeat of the 23-year-old Northern Ireland left hander Mark Allen in a match in which he experienced far more anxiety than seemed possible when he led 15-6.

With such a commanding lead, Higgins seemed to switch his concentration off and suffered a few unkind and costly runs of the ball. Allen is the sort to fight to the last, even if his cause seems hopeless, and he narrowed the gap playing with ever-increasing conviction.

After taking Friday's last four frames, Allen began yesterday with a break of 106 and added two more successes to trail only 15-12. "It was touch-and-go at one point there. I knew exactly what was going on and what a comeback it was," Higgins said. "I was a bag of nerves. Crazy thoughts were running through my head. If I'd lost that match I don't know what I'd have done. I'd have had no heart to practise for another season."

First in with 24 in the next frame, Allen missed "a very bad red" and Higgins was able to allay his mounting concern by clearing with a 116 to go four up with five to play. At 16-13, Higgins was in with 60. Allen responded with 44 but missed a blue simple in itself but, he said, "concentrating on holding for the yellow", to allow Higgins to apply the closure.

Shaun Murphy, the 2005 champion here as a 22-year-old, 150-1 qualifier, also came under severe pressure before clinching a 17-14 win over Neil Robertson, the first Australian semi-finalist since Eddie Charlton in 1982. Leading 14-7, Murphy came almost to a standstill. Consecutive breaks of 66, 68 and 101 gave Robertson the last three frames before lunch, and in two hours of graft he added the first four of the evening to level at 14-14 at the intermission.

Having faced the prospect of losing from such a position, it was much to Murphy's credit that he regained the lead with a break of 106 and added the two remaining frames that he needed with breaks of 81 and 94. "At 14-all I was feeling terrible," Murphy said. "I couldn't pot a ball. That interval came at the right time."

Over the course of the two-day final Murphy will bid to become the fifth player after Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan to win the UK and world titles in the same season.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Extras
indybest
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
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

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

English teachers required in Lowestoft

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified English tea...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits