Williams beats Higgins to win third world title
Mark Williams of Wales poses with trophy after his final with John Higgins of Scotland at the World Snooker Championship 2018 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Britain on May 7, 2018. Mark Williams won 18-16 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Han Yan)
SHEFFIELD, England, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Mark Williams beat four-time winner John Higgins 18-16 to win his third World Championship title at Crucible Theatre here on Monday.
Williams won seven consecutive frames from 7-7 for a 14-7 lead and fought off a rally at the start of the fourth session from Higgins, who made it 15-15, to win the closest final since 2005.
"What a match to be involved in," said Williams. "The break in the last frame was one of the best I've made under pressure in my life. What an occasion, to play John at the Crucible in the final is unbelievable. I'm so happy I won."
The 43-year-old Welshman, who won the title in 2000 and 2003, is the oldest winner since Ray Reardon took the crown in 1978 at the age of 45.
He joins Mark Selby as a three-time Crucible champion, behind only Stephen Hendry with seven, Steve Davis with six, Ronnie O'Sullivan with five and Higgins with four.
Williams failed to qualify for the final last year and nearly quit the sport after having not won a ranking title for six years.
"A year ago I was thinking about chucking it, and here I am having just won the World Championship. Where has it come from? If I never win another tournament, or my form goes downhill, I don't care. I've just done something I never thought I would. I've been playing some unbelievable stuff this season and I felt I could have a good run here."
The title earned him a total of 425,000 pounds, bringing his total for the season to 885,400 pounds. He jumps from seventh to third in the world rankings. Higgins, who lost to Selby in last year's final, pocketed 180,000 pounds.
Higgins said: "I made it 17-16 but then he made one of the best breaks I've ever seen under pressure.
"Mark wasn't even here last year. So for him to go from not even qualifying to really doing a number on everyone is great.
"I've lost two finals in a row now and it is heart-breaking. People are saying it could be your last chance but I could come back and make a fist of it next year, you just never know what's going to happen. I'll definitely be back to give it another go."
Mark Williams of Wales competes during his final with John Higgins of Scotland at the World Snooker Championship 2018 at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Britain on May 7, 2018. Mark Williams won 18-16 to claim the title. (Xinhua/Han Yan)