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Friday, July 30, 2021

Players Championship snooker final LIVE: John Higgins builds 5-0 lead vs Ronnie O'Sullivan

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Players Championship snooker final LIVE: John Higgins builds 5-0 lead vs Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O’Sullivan takes on John Higgins in the final of the Players Championship today as he seeks to win a record-extending 38th ranking title. ‘The Rocket’ is in the final of a ranking tournament for the 58th time in his career and has matched Stephen Hendry’s finals record in doing so, having already overtaken the great Scot for most titles (37 to 36).
O’Sullivan came from 3-0 down in the semi-finals to beat Barry Hawkins 6-4 as he looks to do what he couldn’t last week at the Welsh Open, when he lost in the final to Jordan Brown.

Speaking after downing Hawkins on Friday night, O’Sullivan said: “It’d be great to win on Sunday. I’m pleased I’ve got a day off. I don’t know if the nine-mile run had an effect, but I’m not going to stop.

“It’s the best thing in my life at the moment. I was twitching there at the end and Barry should have had me. I got lucky there.”

O’Sullivan is looking to win his third Players Championship having previously triumphed in both 2018 and 2019.

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In today’s final, the six-time world champion takes on John Higgins, who has only conceded one frame all tournament and swept past Kyren Wilson in the semis.

The 45-year-old Scot has 30 ranking tournament wins but this is his best ever performance at the Players Championship.

There is a £125,000 prize on the line for the winner, with O’Sullivan looking to improve his 37-30 head-to-head record against Higgins.

Players Championship final LIVE score

Best of 19 frames – afternoon session begins 1pm, evening session 7pm

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LIVE: Ronnie O’Sullivan 0-5 John Higgins

Frame scores

Afternoon session: 18-64, 0-103 (92), 21-69 (68), 0-142 (142), 0-138 (138)

Ronnie O’Sullivan’s route to the final

First round: O’Sullivan 6-5 Ding Junhui

Quarter-finals: O’Sullivan 6-1 Jack Lisowski

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Semi-finals: O’Sullivan 6-4 Barry Hawkins

John Higgins’ route to the final

First round: Higgins 6-0 Jordan Brown

Quarter-finals: Higgins 6-0 Mark Selby

Semi-finals: Higgins 6-1 Kyren Wilson

O’Sullivan’s Higgins praise

O’Sullivan was full of praise for Higgins after his quarter-final win over Mark Selby, who the Scot thrashed 6-0.

“I watched it. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t watch it in the end. It was granite. It was evil, evil,” said O’Sullivan.

“John just showed what a class player he is because obviously Selby is one of the best in the business at winning those types of matches.

“But Higgins, you could see it was almost like he didn’t want it to end. It was ridiculous snooker really.

“That’s probably the toughest match of snooker I’ve seen in my life. It was bordering on obscenely tough.

“Why would you want to be that tough? It was incredible snooker. It’s not easy to play. It’s okay playing defensive snooker, but you have to play it well.
“John and Selby play it better than anybody so if you can play it well, you play it.
“For me, it’s a waste of time trying to play that stuff because I do a lot of hard work 80 percent of the time, but then mess it up with one shot.

“They are very astute around that stuff. It was a real purist’s game of snooker.

“If he starts doing that to me, I’m going to be sitting in that chair quite a lot.”
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Players Championship snooker final LIVE: John Higgins builds 5-0 lead vs Ronnie O'Sullivan
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