Gould title dream is shattered by Higgins

Martin Gould’s bid for a first-ever ranking title ended in final-frame disappointment against John Higgins at the Australian Open on Sunday.

The Pinner Potter took the four-time world champion the distance in Bendigo, scoring two centuries in the process, but the Scot rattled in an 89 to win 9-8.

World number 26 Gould will take heart from a superb first tournament of the new season, which saw him defeat Marco Fu, Michael Holt, Matthew Selt and Stephen Maguire on the way to his first ranking final since 2011.

He responded well after losing the opening two frames to Higgins, making breaks of 101, 86 and 89 to open up a 4-2 lead.

But 40-year-old Higgins clawed it back to 4-4 at the end of the first session and then took the first two frames in the evening.

In frame 11, Gould then made an outstanding 138 – the second-highest tournament break of his career, just shy of his career-best 139 – and had soon levelled at 7-7.

Higgins won the next frame but Gould kept his hopes alive by taking frame 16 and sending it to a decider – only for the former world number one to keep his cool and clinch the trophy.

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