SNOOKER: Dott demolition heartens Hendry

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The Independent Online
STEPHEN HENDRY rediscovered his golden touch in Aberdeen last night to win Scottish Open title with a 9-1 defeat of his compatriot and first-time finalist, Graeme Dott. And while his first win in Britain for two years was a great relief to the 30-year-old world No 2, Hendry's objective is a record seventh world title at the Crucible.

"There are plenty of tournaments before we get to Sheffield but it's great to be going there with a win under my belt," he said. "All my rivals have been winning - John Higgins, Mark Williams and Ronnie O'Sullivan - so this is a great confidence boost. It's almost like winning your first tournament again, it feels that long since I won one.

"There's been a huge improvement in my form in the last couple of months and the extra confidence that winning a title brings will do me no harm. But you've also got to put in the work. Talent is not enough these days and that's why I've still been putting in the hours on the practice table."

Dott, a Glaswegian, was no match for Hendry. He could have won at least half of the eight first-session frames but lacked the big-match experience to put one of the game's top players under pressure.

"I knew if I could get a good start Graeme might find it hard going," Hendry said. "He didn't play as well as he has been doing all week but he has shown he has got the bottle to compete at the top.

"He probably didn't deserve to be 8-0 down but even then I had to be professional and get the job done. You've still got to get over the line and I didn't want to ruin all the good work."

Hendry's pay cheque of pounds 60,000 takes his career earnings to pounds 5.9m and his seasonal prize money to pounds 185,000. Dott collects pounds 32,000 and can take great heart into his final two tournaments, the British Open at Plymouth in April and before that the World Championship qualifiers at Telford next month.