Hendry finds winning awkward

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Stephen Hendry emerged victorious from the battle of the Scots in Sunderland last night, taking the pounds 60,000 Skoda Grand Prix winner's cheque with a 9-5 victory over the defending champion, John Higgins.

Hendry admitted that his first professional encounter with Higgins was a little awkward. "I know him so well and meeting for the first time in such an important occasion made it doubly difficult for us," the world champion said.

Neither player found top gear, with Hendry's best effort of 88 coming in the second half of the contest. He finished with a run of 73 in the 14th frame to claim the title and a pounds 5,000 bonus for the highest televised break. His 138 clearance came during the semi-final with Steve James and was also good enough to take the sponsor's prize of a new car.

"Stephen didn't play well," Higgins said. "But I was terrible."