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John Higgins (born May 18, 1975, Wishaw, North Lanarkshire) is a Scottish professional snooker player.
Higgins turned professional in 1992. He had never been hugely successful as an amateur, but whilst still in his teens, he won three ranking tournaments and reached the final of the Masters in the 1994/95 season. His ranking rose sharply, and he was ranked number two by 1997. The 1997/98 season was the breakthrough, as he won the World Championship and two other ranking titles, reaching the number one spot in the world rankings. He beat defending champion Ken Doherty 18-12 in the Final, to become the third Scottish World Champion.
The following season he retained this position by winning the two other major titles: the UK Championship and the Masters. However, he succumed to The Crucible Curse in the World Championship. He lost 17-10 to Mark Williams in the Semi Finals.
In the early 2000s Higgins was dominating snooker, as Stephen Hendry had done throughout the 1990s, but fierce competition from other players, notably Mark Williams, saw him knocked off the top spot after only two seasons. However, the start of the 2001/02 season was to be a record-breaking one for Higgins as he became the first player to win the opening three tournaments of the season: the Champions Cup, the Regal Masters and the British Open.
This impressive run came to an end as John's wife gave birth to their first son, Pierce, in 2001. Fatherhood had a big effect on John and he struggled with his concentration; his form dropped and he was left without a trophy for a number of seasons.
In late 2004, John's wife gave birth to their second son, Oliver. He had a stronger 2004/05 season, winning the British Open for the fourth time. In the final of the 2005 Grand Prix, Higgins became the first player to make four consecutive century breaks in a ranking tournament, scoring 103, 104, 138 and 128 against Ronnie O'Sullivan. In the process, he scored a record 494 points without reply from his opponent. He went on to defeat Ronnie 10-9 in the Saga Insurance Masters, in what many consider one of the greatest finals ever played in any snooker tournament. In the deciding frame, Ronnie made a break of 60 before running out of position, and Higgins made a winning clearance of 64 to win the title. He also reached the final of the Malta Cup. Higgins had a disappointing end to a highly successful season when he lost his first-round match at the World Championship to Mark Selby — a player whom he had beaten at the same stage of the 2005 event—10 frames to 4.
In 2006-07, Higgins had a very consistent season. He came to the World Championship in average form, but managed to win comfortably against Michael Holt, Fergal O'Brien, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Stephen Maguire. In the final he played Selby, whom he had played in the First Round in the two previous championships. Higgins started well leading 12-4 after the first day. He slipped in the third session though, allowing Selby to close to 12-10. Selby drew to within one frame at 14-13, but after that Higgins won four frames in a row to secure his second World Championship. The match finished at 1:38 in the morning, and is the latest finish to a Crucible final. Higgins also made the 1,000th century break at The Crucible against Stephen Maguire, and regained his position as World Number 1.
Higgins' strength is his combination of superb break-building, technique, and outstanding safety and tactical play. These skills have seen him become one of the top five most successful players in snooker history. He is renowned as a great matchplayer, rather than showing the flair that a Ronnie O'Sullivan or Stephen Hendry shows.
- World Championship: 2 (1998, 2007)
- UK Championship: 2 (1998, 2000)
- Grand Prix: 3 (1994–95, 2005)
- British Open: 4 (1995, 1998, 2001, 2004)
- Welsh Open: 1 (2000)
- China Open: 1 (1998)
- Scottish Open: 2 (1995–96)
- German Open: 2 (1995, 1997)
- European Open: 1 (1997)
- The Masters: 2 (1999, 2006)
- Irish Masters: 2 (2000, 2002)