John Higgins faced Neil Robertson in a quest to win his first English open title and Neil Robertson was trying to go one step better after being beaten by Judd Trump in last year’s final.
Robertson made the better start racing into a 2-0 lead but Higgins aided by a smooth break of 90 in frame 3 and some fantastic safety play in frame 4 levelled the match at the interval.
After the interval Robertson took charge of the match and fired in breaks of 123 and 140 to take a 5-3 lead at the end of the afternoon session.
John Higgins is known for his excellent battling qualities and you just knew that Robertson was in for a battle in the evening session and Higgins did not disappoint. Going into tonight’s session Higgins had to be thinking that winning the mini session 3-1 would be his minimum requirement but he went 1 better by winning the first four frames of the evening to lead 7-5 at the interval aided by breaks of 59, 62 and 60 and now Robertson had his back firmly against the wall.
Like all great champions Robertson hit back in frame 13 with an excellent break of 80 but this was only after Higgins had the first chance but potted the black and went in off in the middle pocket which gave Robertson the chance to close the deficit to 7-6.
Frame 14 saw Higgins move one frame from victory with a break of 70 and Robertson had no room for error now but Robertson drew on all his Aussie grit and determination to fire in breaks of 52 and a magnificent break of 120 to level the match at 8-8 and force a deciding frame.
A tense decider started with both players looking very edgy and it was Higgins who had the first chance but he broke down on 24 and Robertson potted an excellent long red and made a match winning break of 74 to lift the Steve Davis trophy.
Higgins will reflect on back to back final defeats but his game is in good order going into next weeks champion of champions and Neil Robertson will be delighted to pick up ranking title number 21.
Neil Robertson 9-8 John Higgins
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