John Higgins hailed the best week of his snooker life after demolishing Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-3 to win the Players’ Championship title in Milton Keynes.
Higgins’ win – which he wrapped up with a 127 clearance to black in the final frame – completed a remarkably dominant week for the 45-year-old Scot in which he dropped just four frames in four matches.
It earned Higgins his first ranking title in three years and made him the oldest winner since Doug Mountjoy won the Mercantile Credit Classic at the age of 46 in 1989.
Higgins said: "Without doubt this is the best week I've had and the way I’ve felt out there has been a brilliant feeling.
"The way I’ve played and the way I’ve felt in control has made me think I’ve got that monkey off my back and there is no reason why I can’t go on and win more titles."
Despite compiling two centuries including tournament high clearance of 144 in the eighth frame, O’Sullivan – who has now lost four ranking finals in a row this season – was simply outclassed.
O’Sullivan likened Higgins’ performance to Tiger Woods’ US Open win at Pebble Beach and admitted: "I don’t think anyone has dominated a tournament from start to finish.
"He beat four highly ranked players ridiculously easily, so it’s probably like when Tiger won (the US Open) by 15 shots – I just got peppered like everybody else."
GRANITE.— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) February 28, 2021
Four-time world champion John Higgins has beaten Ronnie O'Sullivan 10-3 to win the Cazoo Players Championship!
It's his first ranking title in three years, conceding only four frames in the process ?? #CazooSeries pic.twitter.com/L8vSMQ6thg
Four-time world champion Higgins had cruised into the final on the back of a series of remarkably dominant performances, beginning with a whitewash of newly crowned Welsh Open champion Jordan Brown.
In the quarter-finals he restricted Mark Selby to just seven points in another 6-0 win, before summoning five breaks over 50 as he swept aside last year’s world finalist Kyren Wilson 6-1 in the last four.
Higgins started the final in the same fashion in which he had swept through the week, sweeping into a 3-0 lead including a break of 92 in the second frame.
Things were about to get even worse for O’Sullivan as Higgins stepped up again, polishing off back-to-back total clearances of 142 and 138 to extend his advantage to five frames and threatening to inflict one of the most embarrassing defeats of his opponent’s career.
O’Sullivan rallied, getting his first frame on the board with a break of 82, then typically rounding off a desperate session by his standards with a tournament-high clearance of 144, affording him a flicker of hope at 6-2 at the end of the afternoon session.
But Higgins continued to prove merciless when the pair returned, a break of 51 re-establishing his five-frame advantage. Then, after O’Sullivan scored his second century with a 110, breaks of 70 and 77 took Higgins one frame from victory at 9-3.