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John Higgins denies Ronnie O'Sullivan to claim the 2016 Champion of Champions crown

A jubilant Higgins holds the trophy (credit:ITV4)

John Higgins ended Ronnie O'Sullivan's unbeaten record in the Champion of Champions with a high quality 10-7 victory to secure the title in Coventry on Saturday.

Higgins recovered from a 5-4 deficit at the end of the afternoon session by winning six of the next eight frames to inflict a first-ever defeat on O'Sullivan in the event and secure the top prize of £100,000 - taking his tally to £300,000 in the space of six days following last weekend's success at the China Championship.

It promised to be a cracking contest between two of Snooker's greatest players, with nine World Championship titles between them to name a few, and duly delivered with a century and 15 further breaks over 50 during a mouth-watering encounter in Coventry.

"I'm delighted," admitted Higgins. "It's been a great week and you just have to roll with it when it's going for you. 

"I was really buzzed up for the game and when you're playing like that against a player like Ronnie, there's no better feeling.

"I know how quickly it can all go to pot again so I'm just going to enjoy it and try to ride the wave and see where it takes me," he added.

The first four frames were shared and set the standard for what was to come as Higgins made breaks of 75 and 74, while O'Sullivan responded with runs of 68 and 88.

Two-time champion O'Sullivan went ahead for the first time with a break of 90, but the in-form Scot replied with contributions of 79 and 65 to regain the lead at 4-3.

Back came the Rocket with a break of 61 to level once more and, despite missing the brown, was let off the hook as Higgins caught the far jaw with his attempt, to move in front going into the final session.

A rousing reception welcomed the player into the arena in the evening and the Scotsman settled the quicker - knocking in breaks of 60 and 63 to move 6-5 ahead - and, after O'Sullivan responded with 74, edged his nose back in front at the interval with an 83.

O'Sullivan took advantage of a fluked snooker on the green from his break-off with a stunning 130 total clearance to level - the first and only century of the match - but found himself behind again as Higgins restored his advantage with a run of 76.

It appeared that the Rocket was beginning to run out of firepower as a missed green off its spot in the next frame paved the way for his opponent to move to within a frame of victory with 86.

Despite missing on two occasions when in and among the balls in the final frame, a couple of fantastic long reds eventually saw Higgins over the line, as runs of 40 and 58 clinched the title.

A gracious O'Sullivan conceded: "John played fantastic all week. I just tried to hang on today and I think the scoreline flattered me a bit.

"You get found out against world class players like John. I made too many easy mistakes and you can't afford to do that but it's another final for me so maybe it's progress."

Here is what the new champion had to say shortly afterwards...



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John Higgins denies Ronnie O'Sullivan to claim the 2016 Champion of Champions crown

John Higgins ended Ronnie O'Sullivan's unbeaten record in the Champion of Champions with a high quality 10-7 victory to secure the title in Coventry on Saturday.

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