Neil Robertson v John Higgins - English Open snooker final LIVE updates from Milton Keynes showpiece
Follow our live updates from the final of the English Open snooker as former world champions Neil Robertson and John Higgins face off in the showpiece clash in Milton Keynes. Stream the final of the English Open and top snooker action live and on demand on discovery+. Who are you backing to triumph in the big match?
'Surprising he hasn't won World Championship more than once' - O'Sullivan on Robertson
Thanks for your company this week, we'll be back on the baize with you soon.
Jimmy and Ronnie dissect the evening in the studio, particularly Higgins's critique of his own performance. Neither of them are having it that he's not got it any more; this happens, and Higgins has emerged victorious from more seemingly doomed positions than any player I can think of. Unfortunately for Higgins he ran into someone who, when his career is done, will surely be ranked among the greats of the game too. Congratulations to Neil Robertson, who is now in the studio with Rachel and Ronnie, the trophy sat proudly on his knee. He contrasts this with the final last year, when he lost it on a decider to Judd Trump in a deserted Marshall Arena. There's a lovely sense of perspective about Robertson when he talks, he really is a credit to the game.
Confetti rains down in the Marshall Arena as Robertson raises the Steve Davis Trophy in the air. There's £70,000 that will soon be in his account too, as he claims the 21st ranking event title of his career.
The Thunder speaks
'I found something from somewhere,' he says. I'll say you did Neil. He lost all four before the interval tonight, but went on the attack from 8-6 down and really let his arm go to win the title. He pays gushing tribute to John too, and seems quite emotional in this speech; what a class act, and a worthy champion.
The Wizard is hard on himself here, saying the last two major finals prove he hasn't got it at this level anymore. That's a brutal self-assessment, and I don't agree with him at all, but he's entitled to his own opinion of his game and is understandably gutted in defeat. Even so, his admiration for Robertson is obvious and he makes it known.
Robertson 9-8 Higgins
A total break of 65 is enough, and Higgins concedes. There are more warm smiles and handshakes thereafter. What a battle it has been; a grind rather than a great match, but what a comeback at the end from Robertson to take the title.
Robertson 8-8 Higgins (61-22)
The camera catches Higgins in his chair as Robertson lines up another pot; he looks gutted. Robertson is picking them off one by one, and moves to a half-century with a black to bottom left. The next red is frame ball...and it's there! He's going to win the English Open!
Robertson 8-8 Higgins (36-22)
My oh my it's tense out there. A canny shot from Robertson dispatches the black and clears another away from the black spot, and this has quickly become a frame-winning chance. There are five reds left on the table, close together but open, and Robertson has it to lose from here.
Robertson 8-8 Higgins (10-22)
Robertson misses a long red deadweight to the bottom right, believing the white to be relatively safe if he missed. Higgins responds by sending the cue ball across the table to glace a red thin into the bottom left, before aggresively opening the pack off the blue. He starts stitching a break together, which looks like juddering to a halt when he runs out of position and lands the white on the bottom cushion. Hang on though - he's just clattered a red into the left middle to keep going! His positional play soon lets him down again though as he's forced into a thin cut on a red to the bottom right, and he's missed it. Robertson responds with a long, thin red to the bottom right, and he's on the yellow.
Robertson 8-8 Higgins (9-0)
It's handshakes, smiles and off we go in the decider. Higgins gets the first look from Robertson's break-off shot, but can't quite plug a red into the bottom right. That leaves Robertson a short jab at a red into the bottom left, which he makes to land on the blue. He goes into the pack off the yellow a couple of shots later, but he's landed on nish and the first chance of this final frame yields only nine points.
Robertson 8-8 Higgins
It's a ton for Robertson! That 120 is the 799th of his career. He couldn't move to 800 in a decider and win the English Open title, could he?!
Both players leave the arena to compose themselves. This must be like a sequel to a horror film for Higgins, who lost the Northern Ireland Open to Allen from 8-6 up a few weeks back. He's also won a Masters and the UK Championship on a decider though, so he's seen it all before; Robertson too has won and lost big titles in deciders. After a week of action in Milton Keynes, it all comes down to a one-frame shootout between these two.
Robertson 7-8 Higgins (63-1)
Robertson steadily accumulates a half-century, the table opening up further with each red that disappears. He needs a red and a high value colour, and what a defiant couple of frames this has been from him. Red and pink are swiftly dispatched, and he's on the next red too; hold on to your hats folks, we've got supper in Shredsville coming up.
Robertson 7-8 Higgins (15-1)
A poor safety from Robertson leaves Higgins a red to the bottom left with the rest, and he stabs it into the pocket. That leaves a difficult black across the table though, and he catches it too thick and it stays out. In turn that leaves Robertson a chance, and he plays an adventurous shot to open the pack while potting his first red. He doesn't land on a colour though, and has to go back to baulk. He's in a few shots later though, blasting a long red into the bottom right and this time he's on the brown. It's a good chance, and Robertson sets about taking it.
Robertson 7-8 Higgins
It's light work from here, or at least Robertson makes it seem so. A swift 52 wins him frame 15, and cuts Higgins's lead to just one frame.
As Fouldsy points out in co-comms, Higgins recently lost the Northern Ireland Open to Mark Allen in a decider after being 8-6 up. Are we going to Shredsville for the decider in Milton Keynes?
Robertson 6-8 Higgins (46-9)
The Thunder does not lack for bottle. He converts a red into the left middle, and then an even tougher pink to the same pocket to land on a red in baulk. He's soon back down to the money end of the table, and looks nailed on to keep this final going at least one more frame.
Robertson 6-8 Higgins (27-9)
What a shot from Robertson, who floats a red in despite the white being near the top cushion and lands right on the pink. That could have been the match over if that had gone wrong, as it is this is a real chance to prolong the argument. Robertson goes into the pack on 27 and a good split could make it a frame-winning chance, but he sticks to the red he went in to and is left touching with no pot on. Back to baulk goes the white.
Robertson 6-8 Higgins (0-9)
Robertson needs three in a row now, but his break-off shot in the 15th frame is poor as he leaves a cut on a red to the right middle. Higgins can only make nine though, as his attempt to open up the reds off two cushions after potting the blue connects but doesn't produce a decent split.
Robertson 6-8 Higgins
Robertson does land a snooker, which Higgins escapes from and almost sees the white go into the right middle. That's left Robertson on the reds though, so he can make up some ground here. He takes two reds and blacks, plugs another red, but then rattles another black out of the bottom left. He nods at Higgins and concedes, and the Wizard is now one away from the title.
Robertson 6-7 Higgins (1-71)
Higgins makes sure of frame ball black, so much so that he isn't on one of the five remaining reds. He's played some curious shots in this frame, but he's still a massive favourite to win it as he sends the white back to baulk. Robertson needs one snooker and the lot to win.
Robertson 6-7 Higgins (1-40)
Robertson goes all out on a red to the bottom right, doesn't make it, and leaves Higgins a red along the rail thereafter. That goes, and Higgins then works his way out of a tight spot with delicate cueing and precise positional play to free the black spot and turn this into a frame-winning chance. The break is at 24 and counting, and it's all there for him to win the frame.
Robertson 6-7 Higgins (1-16)
Higgins breaks in frame 14, and Robertson misses a long red to the bottom right by a huge distance but doesn'r leave anything. He gets his next attempt at a red down though, before missing a difficult pink to the bottom right to follow. That presents a chance to Higgins, who can only makes 16 after surprisingly turning down a chance to open the pack in favour of a difficult positional shot on a spare red that doesn't come off. It's getting very tense out there now.
Robertson 6-7 Higgins
He does indeed shift it away from the cushion, albeit fractionally. No matter; he hoses the red into the bottom left without touching the jaws! It curtails on 80 but that's the frame to Robertson, and he's only one behind.
Robertson 5-7 Higgins (64-7)
Frame ball red goes as Robertson moves to 57 in this break. Although it was an inviting table, it's been a good show of moxie from him and it's stopped the run of frames going against him. There's one red welded to the left rail still, but if he can shift it he might be able to bag a ton here.
Robertson 5-7 Higgins (50-7)
A blue takes Robertson to 43 in this break. Closing it out looks routine, but the stakes are high here and he's been right out of form this evening. Anything could happen here, but he's holding it together so far.
Robertson 5-7 Higgins (7-7)
We're back, and this frame is huge for Robertson as this match becomes an Everest to climb if he doesn't win it. It begins with a bout of up-table safety with the white taking up residency beneath the black spot. It's edgy, because this is becoming such an open table as a result, and Higgins gambles first on a pot and drops a red into the right middle. The blue follows, and then another red, but he runs alarmingly out of position on the black and leaves it as a thin cut to the bottom left. Higgins snicks it in, but the cue ball flies straight into the left middle. What a reprieve for Robertson!
Robertson 5-7 Higgins
The green is still over its own pocket and Higgins picks it off with a close quarters jab using the rest. The brown follows, but he can't convert the long blue but leaves it in the jaws of the bottom right and the white behind the pink. Robertson tries to come off one cushion and glance it in, misses, and then calls time on the frame.
What a bizarre stanza of frames, low on quality but high on drama. Higgins hasn't played well but Robertson played worse, allowing the Wizard to whitewash that mini-session and lead this final by two frames. We'll be back in 15 minutes for the finale.
Robertson 5-6 Higgins (43-61)
Oh my! With the winning line in sight Higgins misses a black with the rest as he tries to drop in behind the final, frame ball red! Robertson needs the lot here, can he steal this one back from Higgins? No! After red-blue-yellow he misses a routine green to its own pocket! Both balls are cleaned - there may have been a kick there - and Higgins needs green and brown. He takes the thin green to its own pocket on the stretch, and he's missed it yet covered it with the brown! It's virtually in the jaws and if Robertson can hit it, he'll surely pot it. He goes for the big up and down off the bottom cushion...and he connects, it double kisses and the green stays out! Extraordinary.
Robertson 5-6 Higgins (35-36)
Robertson loses position on 35, coming too far across the table, and he tries to make a phenomenally difficult plant into the bottom right. It doesn't go close and he'd gambled position on it, so he's left Higgins right in here. Surely the better option there was a safety and patience, but it's academic now. Higgins begins his counter, and you sense that he senses how much this will linger in the mind of Robertson through the interval if he dishes here. It nearly goes awry when he loses position on the pink. but a stunning recovery pot on the blue keeps his break going and gives him the lead in the frame.
Robertson 5-6 Higgins (29-1)
There's an interval after this frame, and Robertson might need it to regroup. He plays a really poor containing safety at the start of frame 12, leaving Higgins a red to the bottom left. That goes, but Higgins gets too close to the black and can't cut it into the bottom right with the rest. Higgins then misses the pack completely from a safety and Robertson will feel better now, because he's just drilled a long red into the bottom right, deflected off the black that was forming a big pocket and sending said black over the right middle. He quickly develops the pack, and he could make some hay now.
Robertson 5-6 Higgins
A tense safety exchange ensues; these six balls feel very important in the context of this match. Robertson turns down a long yellow because of hampered cueing over the black, but his attempt at a safety goes awry as he accidentall dumps the green into the left middle. Higgins picks off the yellow and then, eventually, the green, and he's taken the lead for the first time today!
Robertson 5-5 Higgins (37-62)
After potting red and pink Robertson lays a snooker on the yellow, touching the cue ball up close behind the brown. Higgins needs to go off three cushions to try and escape, and he's missed it! Frame back on.
Robertson 5-5 Higgins (26-62)
Higgins picks off a red to the bottom left, followed by the yellow with the rest. He takes on one of the awkward remaining two reds, and strokes it into the green pocket along the rail. That makes the pink frame ball, which Higgins calmly dispatches. He tries to play a snooker off the final red as his break concludes on 62, but it's a poor shot as he's left it over the bottom left for Robertson. There's 35 on, and Higgins's lead is 36.
Robertson 5-5 Higgins (26-31)
Robertson misses an attempt at a long red to the bottom left, and he's left Higgins a mid-ranger to the bottom right. That goes, the black follows and Higgins could be in for a load here.Robertson's lead is quickly wiped out, and he'll be hoping two of the remaining reds that are currently close to cushions will bail him out here.
Robertson 5-5 Higgins (26-0)
From close to the bottom cushion Robertson tags in a red to the yellow pocket, coming back out of baulk and down the table to land on the black. This is a decent look, with five reds still free and pink and black both in play. Robertson plays a very attacking shot to develop the pack off the green, which he didn't need to gamble on but it's paid off and this is a great chance now. Two poor positional shots in a row however means he loses position on a colour, and has to play back to baulk. That's a big chance gone begging, and this is a really open table for whoever gets in next.
Robertson 5-5 Higgins
There's a long, long safety exchange between the two players; there are six reds and 75 points left on the table. Robertson eventually gambles on opening up the reds, all of which were clustered along the bottom rail, but he leaves two on as simple pots and this will be end of frame. Higgins adds 30, and he's level.
Robertson 5-4 Higgins (0-59)
A long thrash at a red to bottom right by Robertson clips the black, jaws out and cue ball and red both land in baulk and it's on for Higgins. He's soon down to the business end of the table, piling a break together with reds and blacks, which is up to 38 and counting already, but he's left the white stuck to a red just when the frame looked over and he plays back to baulk rather than risk a difficult cut with the spider.
Robertson 5-4 Higgins (0-21)
Higgins is here to attack tonight. He takes on a difficult red across the table and into the left middle, cutting it in delicately and landing on the yellow. It's a chance, but on 11 he loses position after a canon off one red only leaves a difficult recovery pot on another to the yellow pocket. Calm as you like, Higgins strokes that in to land on the green. It's a constant battle for position though, which he eventually loses on 21 as he fails to land on any red that will pot and plays back to baulk.
Robertson 5-4 Higgins
How big might that miss from Robertson prove to be? Higgins clears up to the pink and wins the crucial first frame of the night.
Robertson 5-3 Higgins (39-42)
Higgins misses a red to the left middle and leaves a load on for Robertson with only a 37 point lead in hand. Robertson duly sets about clearing up, but leaves himself awkward on the second to last red down the right rail and leaves it hanging in the jaws. Higgins drops that in, and then frees the final red from the pink when potting the brown, and he's on it.
Robertson 5-3 Higgins (0-14)
Take your pick, John; a thick safety from Robertson leaves a red over each corner pocket. He plugs the one of the bottom right, but fails to land on the black. That necessitates a long, straight blue into the yellow pocket, and he's leaving a load on if he doesn't drain it. The blue thumps into the heart of the pocket to thunderous applause, and after some further hard work to get the cue ball under control, this is a chance.
Here they come
Our MC Phil Seymour introduces the players to a very lively Marshall Arena. First to nine then, for the aforementioned trophy and seventy large.
The Steve Davis Trophy
When they decided to name the Home Nations Series trophies after a legendary player from all four corners of the United Kingdom, when it came to England there was only one choice. Some of you kids might only know Steve Davis as a prog rock DJ (is that what you’re listening to these days? I assume so), but back in the boom years of snooker in the eighties he was the Don, the last word, the greatest player that the game had ever seen to that point. He won six world titles in those years, and made it to every final at The Crucible in that decade bar 1980 and 1982.
The Nugget: there was a player.
Welcome back to live coverage of the final of the 2021 English Open from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. Neil Robertson had the better of it this afternoon, and leads John Higgins 5-3 ahead of the evening session. He needs four frames for the title, Higgins needs six; no messing around then, let’s get to it.
Neil Robertson leads John Higgins 5-3
That was a fair reflection of the play today, as Robertson settled first in the match and looked the most composed player throughout the afternoon.
We'll be back from 6.45pm this evening for the denouement, when the destination of the 70 grand and the Steve Davis Trophy will be decided. See you then.
Robertson 5-3 Higgins
With the pressure off Robertson languidly converts his break into another century, a 123 that is ton number 798 of his career. Can he make it to 800 on the way to the title tonight? The Wizard will have somethign to say about that I'm sure.
Robertson 4-3 Higgins (61-1)
It's methodical stuff from Robertson, who is making sure of everything in this break. He's made 60 so far and then drops in frame ball red to land on the black; he'll have the lead when we return this evening.
'Immaculate' - Robertson with 'spectacular' break of 140 in English Open final
Robertson 4-3 Higgins (20-1)
What a shot from Higgins to open the eighth, as he hoses in a long red and picks a path through the cluster of reds before drifting too close to the green to leave a look at a baulk colour. He tries a long blue instead, which is fractions away from dropping into the bottom right but stays out. Robertson then gets the next chance as Higgins misses a long red and leaves it on in baulk. In it goes, and Robertson then frees on the black with a superb shot after potting the green. This is a decent chance, and he's taking his time; you can feel how big this frame is for both players.
Robertson 4-3 Higgins
It's soon advantage Higgins as he picks off a long red to the bottom right, and later plugs another into the yellow pocket. Robertson needs four snookers to tie, and picks off two reds with blacks before trying and failing to lay a snooker off the final red. Higgins then dispatches it, Robertson concedes and we've got a massive final frame of this session on the way.
Robertson 4-2 Higgins (0-65)
Higgins is annoyed with himself here, as with only 67 left on he overruns frame ball red and lands on nothing. A safety follows, and with the black tied up Higgins is still a huge favourite to take this frame.
Robertson 4-2 Higgins (0-49)
After another long safety exchange, Higgins picks out a double on a red to the left middle from baulk. That's a superb shot to break the deadlock, and he's on the pink. He can't add any more than that though after running out of position, but gets back to the table as Robertson inadvetently pots the pink when playing a safety. Higgins picks off a red to right middle to land on the brown, and with an open table to go at that should be the frame.
Robertson 4-2 Higgins (0-35)
Higgins traps himself behind the cluster and obscured from the potting angle on his next red, and it's end of break.
Robertson 4-2 Higgins (0-20)
A poor safety from Robertson leaves a red along the rail and into the bottom left for Higgins. There's not much angle to work with so Higgins drops it in, followed by a tough cut on black to bottom right. The pack needs some attention shortly but Higgins has the chance to get in rhythm and post a sizeable visit here.
Robertson 4-2 Higgins
A superb long red from Robertson, followed by the blue, ends the argument and gives him a two frame lead.
Robertson 3-2 Higgins (59-2)
Robertson misses a red to the bottom right from distance, catching another red with the white as he does so and serving up a chance to Higgins. He can't take it though, missing a red to the bottom left, and he's gifted Robertson a chance to finish off a frame that's been chugging along for almost half an hour now. Robertson adds 20 before glancing a red into the right middle, sending the white in and out of baulk to land on the black. This is frame ball, and it's in; there are three reds left, all of which are tight to cushions, and Robertson plays safe off one of them.
Robertson 3-2 Higgins (31-2)
Higgins goes in-off, and with ball in hand from the D Robertson drives in a gun barrel straight red to the bottom right. He then plays an excellent shot when potting the pink to develop the black, hitherto surrounded by reds near the bottom cushion. For the first time in this prolonged frame there's a scoring chance, but on 20 Robertson misses a red to the bottom left. He's not left anything though, and it's back to safety play for now.
Robertson 3-2 Higgins (7-2)
Robertson gets the upper hand in a high quality safety exchange, tagging in a long red before tucking the cue ball tight in behind the green. Higgins however fashions a superb four cushion escape to touch on a red below the black spot and leave nothing.We've been going nearly 20 minutes in this frame and it's absorbing stuff. Higgins then responds in kind, draining a long red as a shot to nothing and tucking the white in behind the yellow.
Robertson 3-2 Higgins (6-1)
We have a lesser spotted safety exchange at the start of the sixth, which ends when Higgins catches the jaws of the bottom right with the cue ball which sends it careering into the pack. That leaves Robertson a red to left middle, which he converts followed by an effortless blue into the green pocket. There are double takes all over the Marshall Arena when he then misses a simple red to the bottom right. Higgins gets a red down a few shots later but no more, and we could be bogged down for a little while here.
Robertson 3-2 Higgins
A black makes it a round ton for Robertson, the 797th of his superb career. He then turns it into a wonderful total clearance of 140 to retake the lead.
Robertson 2-2 Higgins (69-0)
There goes the frame as the tenth red is calmly dispatched by Robertson, and only two awwkard reds near cushions might nix the century. This is a break on speed dial, and great to watch.
Robertson 2-2 Higgins (54-0)
Another good split on the pack opens this frame up for Robertson, who motors to a half-century already. The frame looks nailed on to go here, all Higgins can do is sit and hope.
Robertson 2-2 Higgins (22-0)
We're back, and Robertson leaves Higgins a long red to the bottom right at the start of the fifth, but Higgins misses by a huge margin and leaves a red on to the bottom left. This is a decent chance, and Robertson develops the pack early in the piece.
Robertson 2-2 Higgins
Robertson leaves Higgins a cut on yellow to bottom right. Higgins plays it with a load of drag in the white, snicking the yellow in to come off the bottom cushion and hold for the green. From there it's routine, and he clears up to the pink to level up this match.
Delightfully enough, this final is turning out to be everything we hoped it would be. The players leave the arena for the interval, we'll be back in 15 minutes.
Robertson 2-1 Higgins (51-46)
Let's twist again! Higgins takes on the final red, for which he's fully on the stretch in trying to plug it into the bottom right. He doesn't look comfortable, and he's rattled it out of the jaws. Robertson gobbles it up, but plays a poor shot on the yellow when trying to land back on it, and can only play it safe. Six huge balls coming up here before the interval.
Robertson 2-1 Higgins (48-13)
The first twist of the final? Robertson finishes low on the blue, and misses a difficult cut on it to the left middle. Higgins has a chance to counter here, and sets about doing just that. There's a cluster of three reds below the pink that need moving and Higgins does so at the earliest juncture, with a gentle tickle to open them up and land on the black.
Robertson 2-1 Higgins (32-0)
This final's got some gas under it now. Robertson floats in another gorgeous long red, deadweight to land perfectly above the black. There's some awkward cueing to negotiate early in the break, and he needs one fortuitous kiss on the black to stay on it, but he's in good position now and flying in this break.
Robertson 2-1 Higgins
A blue takes Higgins to 69 and over the winning line in this frame. Can he turn this into a ton? Not quite, as a double nixes the break on 90, but Higgins has a foothold in this final.
Robertson 2-0 Higgins (0-53)
Higgins moves to a half-century with a nicely judged canon into the cluster of reds that now leaves the frame at his mercy. It's been hard work, with a couple of pots needing all the pocket to go in, but it looks like he's settled into this match now.
Robertson 2-0 Higgins (0-30)
With the white welded to the left rail Higgins plugs a pressure red into the bottom right. After potting the black, he pulls out another, similar red to the same pocket and he's away. It's three reds and blacks to start, before a cut on a red to the bottom left forces him up for the blue.
Robertson 2-0 Higgins
Frame ball red to the green pocket is soon dispatched, part of a 38 that banks another frame for Robertson. Both players look like they've come here on the front foot today, and it's Robertson that is into his rhythm more quickly.
Robertson 1-0 Higgins (66-24)
Higgins puts everything into a long red to the bottom left. It misses, and he might have gifted this frame to Robertson as a result. A red down the rail and then a tricky black over into the bottom right get Robertson going, and he's soon picking off hte loose reds that he needs.
Robertson 1-0 Higgins (42-24)
It's a reprieve for Higgins, who could do with getting himself going sharpish here as Robertson misjudges a canon on two reds above the black and lands on nothing. He gets his chance after Robertson misses a plant on two reds to the bottom left, leaving Higgins a red to the same corner. There's a chance to counter, but after three reds and blacks Higgins doesn't get the run from a conon of his own and it's end of break.
Robertson 1-0 Higgins (26-0)
A deadweight long red into the bottom right by Robertson lands the white perfectly on the black. This is a storming start from him, and reminiscent of how he finished his semi-final with Mark King. His attempt to open the pack after potting the black goes awry however, and he misses a cut on a red to the yellow pocket thereafter. Higgins has the same shot to go at, also misses, and goes in-off in the right middle. Robertson picks the red off from the D, opens the pack off the blue and he's got a decent chance here as they've split well.
Robertson 1-0 Higgins
A 57 does the necessary damage, and Robertson takes the lead.
Robertson 0-0 Higgins (66-0)
It's a barrage of reds and pinks from Robertson as he completes his half-century and sinks frame ball red to the bottom left. This is an impressive start, and he'll want to keep Higgins off the table here.
Robertson 0-0 Higgins (16-0)
Higgins misses his first two attempts at reds, and from the second he leaves a red on to the left middle. Robertson can only make 14 from the chance after sticking to the side of the pack when going into it off one cushion. He's settled the better of the two though, and drains a long red into the bottom left only to overscrew the white and land on nothing in baulk. Higgins then misses another attempt at a red by a long way, and Robertson gets back in with a mid-range red to the bottom left to land on the black.
Here we go
Our MC Phil Seymour introduces the players to a packed Marshall Arena. It's best of 17 then for the English Open title, with eight of those frames this afternoon. Let's get at it.
Higgins has he edge in their previous meetings 8-7 and it is Robertson who won the only major final between the two at the 2013 Wuxi Classic. It’s Higgins that has scored the most recent victory however, besting Robertson 13-10 in the quarters of the World Championship in 2019.
Your boy from Wishaw
Where do you even start with Higgins? He’s won everything, multiple times, and has tapped into a rich vein of form of late. His victory at the 2021 Players Championship, where he obliterated a quality field by an aggregate score of 28-4 across the tournament, was one of the most devastating in the history of the sport. Since then there have been well-publicised lifestyle changes; the spin classes are paying off and Higgins is trimmer, feeling chipper, and still rolling back the years. Yesterday afternoon, he rattled off three frames in a row to nick his semi-final against O’Sullivan 6-5.
When The Thunder Calls You
Robertson was the runner up in the final of this event last year. After losing to Trump in a decider, he exacted a sweet revenge a month later by reversing the dose to win the UK Championship on the final pink. That was his third UK title, and Robertson is also four tons away from 800 century breaks, with only Judd Trump, Higgins and Ronnie O’Sullivan ahead of him. Perhaps the most amazing thing about Robertson’s stunning career is that it has only returned one victory at the Crucible to date.
Welcome to live coverage of the final of the 2021 English Open from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Since it’s inception in 2016 this tournament has had five different winners, and today we’ll get a sixth. Neil Robertson faces John Higgins in today’s final. It’s the Thunder against the Wizard, two Triple Crown champions with 51 ranking event titles between them; it’s hard to countenance that this will be anything other than a great final. Your boys and baize interface is incoming in around 15 minutes.
Good afternoon and welcome to our live updates from the final of the English Open in Milton Keynes.
Former world champions Neil Robertson and John Higgins face off in the showpiece clash after very different semi-finals.
O’Sullivan complained about his tip all week at the English Open, saying he was playing exceptionally well but unsure if he could cope mentally with the pressure of playing with such a bad tip.
The six-time world champion hit two centuries against Higgins, but they were not enough to prevent the Scot claiming a 6-5 win.
Higgins and O’Sullivan had a lengthy exchange after the conclusion of the dramatic semi-final, with the Rocket repeatedly pointing to his tip.
David Hendon said on Eurosport commentary that the O’Sullivan tip “is unlikely to be long for this world” but Higgins feels there is a more simple explanation.
“I said to Ronnie to get rid of that Triangle chalk,” Higgins told Eurosport. “I never used to be an advocate of this Taom chalk. But it felt everything for him was a kicky shot.”
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The share price in sandpaper has likely increased, given the amount of work O’Sullivan was putting in on his tip between shots.
“I could see Ronnie was working away on his tip,” Higgins said. "He says it is the tip, but it is the striking of the cue ball. You can hear it on every shot. He says he loves his Triangle.”
O’Sullivan and Judd Trump are the outliers in the modern game with their use of Triangle chalk, and although he urged his great rival to change - Higgins feels the rest of the tour are benefiting.
“Two of the greatest break builders that have ever played snooker, in my eyes, and they don't use the Taom chalk,” Higgins said. “I think it is a disadvantage for them.
“It’s better for the other players that these guys don’t use it, as there’s more chance of things happening. There’s more chance of them getting kicks with that chalk. So us players should be happy they are not using Taom.
“It was hard for Ronnie as he was thinking it’s his tip, but I was sitting watching and he was kicking every single shot.”
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