JOHN Higgins won his 28th career title after brushing aside David Gilbert in the final of the International Championship in Daqing.
Higgins was a 10-5 victor in the best-of-19 showpiece in China,
The scores were tied at 4-4 after eight frames but Higgins took control thereafter, reeling off consecutive century breaks of 108 and 129 and winning six out of the next seven frames to bring an early end to proceedings.
Gilbert last held the lead in the match in just the third frame, when he rattled off his top break of 100 to go 2-1 ahead.
Higgins’ victory, a first since July’s Australian Goldfields Open, earned him a cheque for £125,000 and brought him level on career wins with Steve Davis.
“It’s a special moment for me to get to 28 ranking titles,” Higgins told worldsnooker.com.
“Steve Davis was my hero growing up and back then I would never have dreamed I could equal any of his records. It’s a moment I will never forget. Stephen Hendry is still well out in front and maybe I won’t get to (his record of) 36, but you never know.
“I’ve won three this year so if I keep doing that it will only take me three more years. I love snooker and I don’t think I’ll ever retire.
“I think this has been the best I have ever played continually throughout a whole tournament. I only played one bad mini-session against Michael Holt. The way I played against (Shaun) Murphy and (Mark) Selby - I can’t play much better than that.
“My next goal is to win another world title. If I can produce that sort of form I’ll have a good chance at Sheffield.”
Gilbert walked away from his first final with £65,000 of earnings that he has already started accounting for.
“It feels strange to say I’m disappointed to lose in a final because I’ve never got close to one before,” he said.
“At least I’m going home with £65,000, which is more money than I’ve ever seen. My wife moved into our new house this week so I’m sure she’s already ordering new carpets and furniture.”