John Higgins defeated Shaun Murphy 18-9 to win his third Crucible crown on Sunday.
The ‘Wizard of Wishaw’, who also won the World Snooker Championships in 1998 and 2007, looked in total control throughout and was a worthy winner over an out-of-sorts Murphy.
Higgins had relied on his survival instincts to reach the final, describing his 13-12 victory over Mark Selby in the last eight as the best of his career after winning the final two frames.
But against Murphy he had arguably the most comfortable match of his two weeks in Sheffield, and after winning seven of eight frames in Sunday’s second session he merely had to consolidate his hefty lead.
As well as his scare against Selby, 33-year-old Higgins had also battled back from 12-10 down to beat Jamie Cope 13-12 in the second round.
However, the final proved more straightforward for Higgins against Murphy, whose error-strewn performance was a disappointment and meant the anticipated close finish did not materialise.
After a terrific tournament, which has seen a record-shattering 83 centuries, the final did not justify the pre-match expectations, however that will probably weigh on Murphy’s mind for far longer than it will concern Higgins.
The Wishaw cueman’s brilliant performance on Sunday night, which featured two breaks of 128 and another of 95, was the high point of the match but also the phase which effectively ended it as a contest.
Murphy made a break of 91 on Monday afternoon which was a hint that he was in the mood to respond to Higgins’ second-session surge, but he had needed to win 10 frames in a row.
Higgins almost finished with a 100 break but missed the yellow, not that it mattered as, having previously triumphed in 1998 and 2007, he joined Ronnie O’Sullivan and John Spencer on three world titles, with only seven-time champion Stephen Hendry, and six-time winners Steve Davis and Ray Reardon having been more successful in snooker’s open era, which began in 1969.