John Higgins
John Higgins

Players Championship: John Higgins dazzles to beat Kyren Wilson

John Higgins will face Ronnie O'Sullivan for the Players Championship title on Sunday, after another imperious display saw him beat Kyren Wilson 6-1.

It took a century break from Wilson to become the first man to take a frame off Higgins this week, but it came at 5-0 down and by then the bird had flown as the Scotsman again produced some of his best snooker in years.

Higgins had credited a small change in set-up for his 6-0 demolitions of Jordan Brown and Mark Selby, and Wilson became his latest victim after breaks of 108, 88, 70, 51 and 74 saw him complete a 6-1 win, landing both handicap selections for snooker expert Richard Mann.

There was just the faintest hint of what might have been as he missed out on a maximum break in frame two, but Higgins was all business and resumed the job of reaching his first ranking final since his fourth successive World Championship defeat in 2019.

Since then, the veteran potter has made just one high-profile final, at the non-ranking Masters, and it's almost exactly three years since he last won a ranking title at the Welsh Open.

"I won a massive frame to go 5-0, because if Kyren gets firing he can get on a roll," said Higgins, who has made five centuries and ten more breaks over 50 this week. "He’s up there with the best players in the world so I’m over the moon to beat him 6-1.

Confirming a change to his address position, he added: "I have moved my tip closer to the cue ball when I address it. One of my friends told me they had seen Ronnie and Stephen Hendry talking about it on Instagram, saying my tip was a long way from the cue ball. I looked back at recent footage and they were right, then I looked at footage of when I was younger, and I was a lot closer to the white.

"It must have crept into my game over the years like a bad habit. That has given me something to work on and now I have corrected it and I’m trying to repeat the same thing on every shot."

Standing in his way on Sunday will be old adversary O'Sullivan, who has been similarly impressive in a week for the old guard - which comes just days ahead of Stephen Hendry's return in the Gibraltar Open.

"I have always said Ronnie is the best ever, in my eyes," said Higgins. "I grew up playing him, and he’s still winning the big events, challenging Selby, Robertson and Trump. The likes of me and Mark Williams are in the tier below, trying to nick a title here and there."

Click the image for Nick Metcalfe's Stephen Hendry feature

Stephen Hendry
Click the image for Nick Metcalfe's Stephen Hendry feature

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