Saturday, May 30, 2009

World Snooker 2009

John Higgins has set his sights on adding to his collection of world titles after winning his third Crucible crown with victory over Shaun Murphy.

The 33-year-old secured a crushing 18-9 win over the 2005 champion and believes he can continue to keep snooker's talented new generation at bay.

"I think I've got more titles left in me. Playing at that level, I could win one or two more world titles," he said.

"The next two or three years are going to be when I'll have my best chances."

Higgins, who has risen one place to fourth in the new world rankings, was in dominant form for the vast majority of his clash with Murphy and rarely looked in danger.


In many ways, Higgins' biggest battle was to reach the final, with the Scot having to come through 95 frames just to set up the clash with Murphy.

After a comfortable 10-5 win over Michael Holt in the first round, Higgins was forced into final-frame deciders with both Jamie Cope and Mark Selby and then had to see off a fantastic fightback from Mark Allen in the semi-finals, eventually winning 17-13 having once led 13-3.

"It is going to be harder for the likes of myself and Ronnie (O'Sullivan), because the future is people like Mark Selby, Jamie Cope and Mark Allen," added Higgins, whose previous titles came in 1998 and 2007.

"My three matches against them were such a high standard, so it is going to be very tough.

John Higgins and his wife and family

Video - Higgins wins his third World title

"The only way I can get through against these young guys is to weld them to the top cushion.

"But if I've won two out of the last three (word titles), there is no reason why I shouldn't maybe go on and win some more."

Six-time world champion Steve Davis is optimistic about Higgins' potential to add to his title collection - and for the future of a sport that O'Sullivan recently described as "dying".

"The standard is going to get higher and higher, but John's 'B' game is so good that I think he will be around for a lot longer to come," said the 51-year-old.

"Everyone is going to have to raise the bar, and who knows what is going to happen when the Chinese players start to come through?

All the great names - every single one of them - have played in a final and been beaten here
Runner-up Shaun Murphy

"Snooker has been through the doldrums, as low as it is ever going to get. But I think it has hit its bottom and now all of a sudden I think you are going to see an explosion again."

Meanwhile, Murphy said he would not be too disheartened by his heavy defeat in the final.

"All the great names - every single one of them - have played in a final and been beaten here," said Murphy, who remains at number three in the world rankings behind O'Sullivan and Stephen Maguire.

"So I now know how they felt, and if it inspired them to go and be better players then it will inspire me to go on and be better.

"It's been a really fun event for me. It's a 17-day tournament and 15-and-a-half of those days have been fantastic for me.

"The last day-and-a-half has been not that great and it's something I hope to forget."

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