World Championship: John Higgins beats David Gilbert to reach World Snooker Final

John Higgins fought back from behind to beat David Gilbert 17-16 in their semi-final
John Higgins fought back from behind to beat David Gilbert 17-16 in their semi-final

Four-time World Champion John Higgins defeated David Gilbert 17-16 in a thriller to reach the World Snooker Championship Final.

It means Higgins, our snooker expert Richard Mann's 22/1 pre-tournament tip, will compete in his eighth Crucible Final, facing Judd Trump who beat Gary Wilson 17-11.

The 42-year-old Scot overturned deficits of 8-3, 10-6 and 14-11 to progress against Gilbert and showed his quality and experience to first fight back and then take the final two frames with breaks of 139 and 55 to advance.

A break of 96, following a rare double re-rack, moved him ahead in the match for the first time at 15-14, but Gilbert, appearing at this stage for the first time, found another level, hitting a 78 to bring the score back level then going ahead after a dramatic, 40-minute 31st frame in which Higgins fell short after clawing back two of three snookers required.

The Scot drew on all his acclaimed match-play experience to force a decider with a total clearance of 139, then capitalised on a missed black by Gilbert to hit what would prove to be a match-winning 55 break and take the tie 17-16.

It capped a remarkable revival from Higgins, who had threatened to retire from the game after crashing out in the second round of the UK Championship late last year.

And he had also twice been forced to haul back five-frame deficits against Gilbert, after a torrid second session on Friday which some pundits labelled one of the worst he had ever played.

Gilbert ultimately paid the price for failing to take full advantage of Higgins' mistakes on Friday, which sent the Scot through to face Trump in the final starting on Sunday.

Sporting Life will provide a full live blog of the World Championship Final throughout Sunday May 5 and Monday May 6 with our snooker expert Richard Mann.


Final Schedule

SUNDAY MAY 5
Afternoon Session (2.00pm)
Final (Best of 35 frames)
TV Coverage: Eurosport & BBC

Evening Session (7pm)
Final (Best of 35 frames)
TV Coverage: Eurosport & BBC

MONDAY MAY 6
Afternoon Session (2.00pm)
Final (Best of 35 frames)
TV Coverage: Eurosport & BBC

Evening Session (7pm)
Final (Best of 35 frames)
TV Coverage: Eurosport & BBC

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