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John Higgins v David Gilbert: World Snooker Championship 2019 Semi-Final preview - Higgins eyeing three in a row

Higgins aims to reach his eighth world final

John Higgins aims to book his place in a third consecutive World Championship final by ending the ground-breaking run of David Gilbert at The Crucible.

Higgins has fallen agonisingly short at the final hurdle in his last two visits to Sheffield, but now has another chance at redemption in his quest to become a five-time World Champion.

The Scot has put a difficult season by his own high standards to one side and has thrived once again in the pressure cooker that is The Crucible Theatre, storming into his tenth Semi-Final.

The number five seed averted an early banana skin by defeating Mark Davis 10-7 in Round One, before dispatching 2015 champion Stuart Bingham 13-11 and 2010 champion Neil Robertson 13-10 to reach the hallowed one-table setup.

Higgins has won each of his last six World Championship Semi-Finals stretching back to 2000 and will look to draw upon his vast experience against a player thrust into the one-table setup on the sport's greatest stage for the first time.

Gilbert, the world number 16, has enjoyed a remarkable Crucible campaign so far, having previously won just one match in four appearances as a qualifier.

The Tamworth ace has continued the landmark form which has led him to two ranking finals this season and is now dreaming of pulling off the ultimate triumph on Monday.

He began his run with a 10-7 win over Joe Perry before dethroning defending champion Mark Williams 13-9 in the Last 16 and going on to deny Kyren Wilson with a superb 13-8 victory.

Gilbert won his most recent meeting with Higgins at the 2017 World Open, ending a run of four straight defeats, including the 2015 International Championship final in which the Scot triumphed 10-5.

Their best of 33 encounter gets underway from 1pm BST on Thursday for a total of nine frames, resuming at 10am and 7pm on Friday before being played to a finish from 2.30pm on Saturday. 

Either 2011 world finalist Judd Trump or former China Open finalist Gary Wilson will await the winner in the final on Sunday.


Player's View:


Higgins: "If I was back home and out of the tournament, I'd be sitting there wanting someone like Dave to win because he's a nice guy but I've got to play him and hopefully we'll have a good game.

"I hope he freezes a little bit! 

"It was Kyren's first time in the one-table setup last year and I managed to get in front and stay there so I hope that happens again.

"Dave has played far better than me this year so I'm under no illusions as to how tough it's going to be.

"I certainly don't think I'm favourite."

Gilbert: "I've only ever thought I could just qualify for The Crucible so to be in the one-table setup - I can't believe it.

"I've had a really good head on my shoulders this week, I was really ill in my first match and didn't worry about how I played, I just wanted to win.

"I was really fed up after the World Championship last year but just working on a few basic things has really helped me enjoy the game again, which is a massive thing.

"If you just try and enjoy it half the time, that's half the battle."



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John Higgins v David Gilbert: World Snooker Championship 2019 Semi-Final preview - Higgins eyeing three in a row

John Higgins aims to book his place in a third consecutive World Championship final by ending the ground-breaking run of David Gilbert at The Crucible.

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