John Higgins says it would be “brilliant” to win the Welsh Open for a record fifth time after thrashing Gary Wilson 6-2 to move into Sunday’s final at the Motorpoint Arena. Higgins, who won the event in 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2015, produced a masterful performance during his semi-final and proved to have far too much quality for his English opponent.
The four-time world champion, who hammered former world number one Ronnie O’Sullivan 5-1 in the quarter-finals, made breaks of 99 and 106 in a solid display as he gave few opportunities to Wilson. Barry Hawkins now waits in the final after he edged past Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham 6-4 in the second semi-final and the Englishman says a big improvement is needed ahead of his sixth ranking tournament final.
He told BBC Wales: “I will try and forget about today and play like I did in the quarter-final. If I play like I did today in the final I will get murdered.” Higgins, who has won eight of his previous meetings with Hawkins, is ecstatic to be into another final and is relishing the prospect of lifting the trophy for the fifth time. He said: “I am delighted to be through to another final. It would be amazing to win it for the fifth time, amazing. It would be some record for myself to win it five times, it would be brilliant, but Barry will be gunning to win it for his first time. “It should be a good final between two top-eight players.”
Higgins, who is 12/1 to win the 2018 World Championship, is the firm 4/11 favourite to win the final whilst Hawkins is the 21/10 outsider.