A magnificent seventh World Championship final beckons for John Higgins, yet he may not have made it at all but for accidentally leaving his television on.
Higgins’ quest for a fifth world title at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre is still right on track after he finally saw off a valiant Kyren Wilson 17-13 in their semi-final yesterday afternoon.
Despite Wilson, 26, having reached the last four for the first time, there was little to choose between the men for large swathes of the match – the 42-year-old Scot leading 5-3, 9-7 and 13-11 at the end of the first three sessions before finally pulling away.
Yet Higgins claims it was only a moment of chance between Friday’s second and third sessions that finally led to him producing his best.
“I needed to find something and it was a bit of luck in the end that I did,” he explained. “I went back to the apartment between sessions – I’d left the TV on and it was the second session of this match that was showing. My highest break was less than 50 in those frames and I was just delighted to be 9-7 in front.
“I was watching myself, and I’ve got a long backswing anyway, but I felt it was far too long. I’ve not got a coach, so I’ve got to see for myself when technical things are going wrong and I said ‘that’s not right’.
“So, I put my clothes on, came over to the Crucible and had 45 minutes practice. I shortened my backswing and I felt I played great after that. I needed to do that to give myself confidence heading into the final sessions and thankfully it worked.”
After his TV inspiration, Higgins maintained his four-frame advantage in the evening before really hitting his straps yesterday.
Wilson did win the first frame to close to 13-12 but Higgins then reeled off four of the next five – with breaks of 136, 100 and 98 – to win.
Higgins will now have a chance to go one better than 12 months ago – when he lost 18-15 to Mark Selby – in the best-of-35 final beginning today.
◆ Watch the snooker World Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with Colin Murray and analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.