Snooker - Trump leads Shanghai final despite Higgins 147

A maximum break of 147 was not enough to inspire a comeback for John Higgins, who trails Judd Trump 7-2 in the final of the Shanghai Masters in China.

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Snooker - Trump leads Shanghai final despite Higgins 147
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Judd Trump (AFP)

The two players, returning to the table following Trump’s 4-0 triumph in the first session, each showed glimpses of their exceptional talents as both tried to dominate the table in what was an intriguing battle.

Encouraged by his rapid-fire start, Trump enhanced his opening session lead in the fifth by pouncing on a Higgins error, after he missed a simple red for the middle pocket, to secure a 5-0 lead.

Higgins, showing the same grit and determination that aided his come-from-behind win against Shaun Murphy in the semi-final, showed his true class with a maximum break of 147, wowing the capacity crowd at the Shanghai Stadium.

Wary of a comeback, Trump abandoned his usual cavalier approach for a much more cautious style in the seventh, assembling a break of 52 before forcing the concession from Higgins, who needed at least one snooker to overturn the frame.

Following an early break of 51 from Trump, the eighth frame descended into a game of chess as both men tried to tie one another in knots. In the end, an uncharacteristic mistake from ‘The Ace’ allowed Higgins to clear the table, taking his second frame to score the match at 6-2.

Reverting to more familiar tactics, world number two Trump took an early lead in the final frame of the session with a break of 50, taking his score past the 74 mark to prompt another concession.

As the final is played on a best of 19 frames basis, Trump is able to seal the title in the third session and will hope to prevent a dramatic fightback from Higgins, who knows he must up his game when the final resumes.

First session report

Trump raced to an early lead in the opening session, winning every frame to build a commanding 4-0 advantage over John Higgins.

The Bristolian wasted little time at the table, building a hugely impressive break of 112 to take the opening frame in emphatic fashion.

In the second, an early miss on a red from Higgins allowed Trump to dominate the early exchanges, building a break of 41 before adding another score of 80 to seal a fine 121-0 triumph.

In an attempt to stifle his confident opponent, Higgins reached for his tactical mind by forcing the Englishman to commit three separate fouls from a tricky snooker, winning 12 penalty points as a result. This mild success was short-lived, though, as Trump rallied with a frame winning break of 74.

Four-time world champion Higgins had an opportunity to salvage a foothold on proceedings early in the fourth, though a miss on a relatively simple black put paid to any hopes of an immediate comeback, allowing Trump to take advantage with another exceptional break of 111.

With a 4-0 lead, Trump is now hot favourite to lift the Shanghai Masters title, but with lots of snooker left to play, only a fool would dismiss the chance of a Higgins recovery. After all, the Scottish star was forced to come from behind during his semi-final win over Shaun Murphy on Saturday.

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