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John Higgins claims record fifth Welsh Open title

Higgins proudly receives the Ray Reardon Trophy (credit:BBC Sport)

John Higgins secured a record fifth Welsh Open title courtesy of a 9-7 victory over Barry Hawkins in the final in Cardiff on Sunday.

The 42-year-old eclipsed Ronnie O'Sullivan's tally of Welsh Open crowns as he picked up the 30th career ranking silverware of his career at the Motorpoint Arena.

The duo were locked level at four-all following the first session of the final before moving 6-4 and 8-6 ahead and eventually holding off the spirited challenge of Hawkins to wrap up the £70,000 title.

"It feels great, that is one of the most enjoyable finals I have ever played in, the standard was great," Higgins told BBC Sport Wales.

"Barry could have won and I would have had no complaints because it was a great game.

"It is special for me to win the Welsh Open five times."

Higgins, who also claimed the Indian Open title earlier this season, had thrashed rival O'Sullivan 5-1 in the Quarter-Finals before defeating Gary Wilson 6-2 in the Semis. 

Higgins is congratulated by Hawkins (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
It was Hawkins who clinched the first frame of the final before Higgins piled in terrific breaks of 138 and 141 either side of a narrow third frame which went the way of 'The Hawk' despite a 68 break from his opponent.

Hawkins dominated frame five before adding a century of his own (130) to move 4-2 in front.

Higgins, though, ensured the pair would head to the interval at parity by compiling successive breaks of 51 and 58.

Two low-scoring frames after the restart made it four on the spin for the Scot but only for Hawkins to stop the rot superbly with back-to-back tons (103 and 138).

The two-frame swing continued as Higgins made a 66 before edging frame 14 on the final pink to lead 8-6, though Hawkins kept his hopes alive with a well-taken break of 82.

Higgins, however, averted the need for a decider as he powered in a break of 64 to get over the line and deny Hawkins a fifth ranking title.

"I'm a bit gutted to be fair," admitted Hawkins. "I felt like I was holding on to John for most of the match and lost a couple of frames that could've gone either way.
 
"John showed what a class player he is. He's one of the all-time greats."

"I threw everything I had at him and still couldn't beat him, that says it all, but I've had a good week and this has been a step in the right direction."


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John Higgins claims record fifth Welsh Open title

John Higgins secured a record fifth Welsh Open title courtesy of a 9-7 victory over Barry Hawkins in the final in Cardiff on Sunday.

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