Snooker: Higgins delighted with Open win

John Higgins ended his three-year wait for a ranking title by capturing the British Open crown with a 9-6 victory over fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in Brighton tonight.

Higgins, beaten in his last six finals, roared back to his best to pocket the £30,000 top prize and his 25th major title. It capped a memorable week for the 29-year-old who had been ready to pull out of the event if his heavily pregnant wife Denise went into labour.

But they both made it through to the end and Higgins was able to dash to the airport straight after his victory ready for an early morning doctor's appointment.

"That's probably the most important title I've ever won," Higgins said. "When I first started winning tournaments 10 years ago they came in a steady stream but when you haven't won one for three years you start to doubt yourself.

"When I was watching the Grand Prix last month, and how well Ronnie O'Sullivan played, I couldn't see any way of getting back to that sort of form. But it just shows it can happen and what was pleasing was that I played some of my best ever snooker."

Maguire, 23, had reached the final, with a stunning 6-1 defeat of world champion O'Sullivan on Saturday. He opened up against Higgins with a break of 71 but fell 3-1 adrift at the first interval as his compatriot reproduced the form that saw him whitewash Shaun Murphy in the semi-finals.

Higgins, appearing in his first ranking final since the LG Cup 13 months ago, made a break of 100 in the third frame as he established his two-frame advantage. Maguire hit back, though, with runs of 72, 55 and 76 to lead 4-3 before Higgins ended the opening session with an effort of 53 to make it 4-4.

At 5-5, Higgins upped his game as he fired in successive breaks of 144 and 107 to go two frames clear again. A 68 made it 8-5 and Higgins clinched victory two frames later with a run of 97.

"I played very well to go from 5-5 to 7-5," he said. "Stephen is such a tough opponent and he played really well all week. He'll be winning tournaments on a regular basis in the future. Ronnie called him one of the best young players in the world but he's actually one of the best players full stop." Maguire, who won the European Open last season, rises to seventh in the provisional rankings after another impressive week.

He said: "I'm a little bit disappointed because when you reach a final you want to win but John played really well. At least I didn't freeze in the final. John looked so good, he hasn't won for a few years but I practise with him a lot and I knew he'd be back."

Higgins won his first ranking title at the 1994 Grand Prix and captured 14 more until his form deteriorated following the birth of his first son, Pierce.

Low on confidence, he made alterations to his cue and changed his stance but, aside from the 2002 Irish Masters, the title drought continued. It got so bad that at one point last season Higgins ruefully described himself as an "also ran". Having sunk to 10th in the provisional rankings before Brighton, the 1998 world champion was feeling down but the imminent birth of his second child took his focus off the tournament, to the extent that he was considering pulling out if it arrived during the event.

Higgins was also benefiting from having three quarters of an inch taken off the end of his cue, which has shortened his action and, he claims, eradicated many unforced errors.

Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sport
News
peopleGerman paper published pictures of 18-month-old daughter
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicKate Bush set to re-enter album charts after first conerts in 35 years
Life and Style
tech
News
people
Life and Style
food + drink
Life and Style
Voices
voices
Sport
Roger Federer is greeted by Michael Jordan following his victory over Marinko Matosevic
tennisRoger Federer gets Michael Jordan's applause following tweener shot in win over Marinko Matosevic
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses paparazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
News
Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik, 37, 2.59 meter (8,5 feet) tall, the world's tallest living man, waves as he poses for the media by the Chevrolet Tacuma car presented to him by President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on March 24, 2008.
newsPeasant farmer towered at almost 8'5'' - but shunned the limelight
News
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in ‘The Front Page’, using an old tech typewriter
media
Life and Style
Could a robot sheepdog find itself working at Skipton Auction Mart?
techModel would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
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

Test Job

TBC: Test Recruiter for iJobs: Job London (Greater)

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

Head of Marketing - Pensions

£65000 - £75000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis