Impressive Judd Trump leaves John Higgins struggling in world final
The Englishman surged ahead with a scintillating display of snooker to leave four-time champion Higgins trailing by 12 frames to 5 going into today’s deciding action.
It had been a cat-and-mouse affair earlier in the day as the lead changed hands after both men signalled their intent in style right from the start.
By the end of the first session they were locked together at 4-4, having shared four centuries during those early stages.
Trump, pictured, made the first move against the four-time champion, taking the first two frames before Higgins responded with a superb clearance of 139.
But Trump, who had eased past Gary Wilson in his Saturday semi-final, posted a 105 of his own in response to take a 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval.
After edging a final-frame decider against David Gilbert on Saturday afternoon, Higgins had criticised the scheduling, but he showed few ill-effects as he stormed back.
First the 43-year-old Scot posted a break of 69, then he pounced on a Trump error and seized a second chance to level the scores at 3-3.
In a high-quality finish to the session, the Scot rattled in a break of 103 – his second century of the match – to take the lead for the first time.
But once again Trump responded to a Higgins century with one of his own, a 105 bringing an end to a superb session and leaving the score at 4-4 going into the evening’s action.
The quality of play during those first eight frames drew high praise from six-time world champion Steve Davis, who said: “That’s as good a session I’ve ever seen at the Crucible. The standard was superb. The frames were over before they got to the colours and that very rarely happens.”
The centuries kept coming, Higgins firing his third of the match at the start of the evening session to move back in front at 5-4.
Trump uncharacteristically needed two attempts to pull level in the next after being fortunate to escape punishment for missing a routine black.
But the 29-year-old duly responded with a stunning 135 break in the next – the final black played behind his back – to move back in front at 6-5.
Both players missed chances in the following frame but Trump emerged unscathed from a lengthy safety battle to extend his lead to 7-5 at the mid-session interval, and he surged ahead in the 13th frame with a 114 break, the 96th of the tournament.
A series of snookers helped Trump take a four-frame lead at the next, followed by breaks of 71 , 58 and 70 to make it eight frames in a row and command a 12-5 overnight lead.