Judd Trump was crowned world snooker champion for the first time after wrapping up a record-breaking 18-9 victory over John Higgins at the Crucible.
Trump fired a record-equalling seven centuries and became the first player to earn one million pounds in a single season as he claimed emphatic revenge for his previous final loss to Higgins in 2011.
A stunning final saw a total of 11 hundreds – a record for a Crucible match – including two near-maximums on the final day, and took the total number for the Championship to 100, shattering the previous best of 86.
Trump and Higgins raised the bar after two Sunday sessions that six-time champion Steve Davis described as among the most “incredible” he had seen at the Crucible.
Trump, who needed a deciding frame to squeeze past Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 10-9 in round one, had hit back from behind to reel off eight frames in a row and put himself firmly in control at 12-5 ahead of the final day.
But Higgins, no stranger to Crucible comebacks after almost overturning a seven-frame deficit in last year’s loss to Mark Williams, raised hopes of a repeat by taking the first two frames, including a stunning maximum attempt in the opener.
Higgins potted all the reds including an outrageous double on the last before missing a relatively easy final black with the colours at his mercy.
Trump was unfazed by the mini-revival and won the next three frames, including two more centuries.
Typically, Higgins dug deep enough to avoid the embarrassment of losing the match with a session to spare, his successive knocks of 67 and 70 extending the run of half-centuries to 10 consecutive frames.
And there was still time for Trump to finish a remarkable session with a maximum bid of his own, as he potted 13 reds and blacks before running slightly out of position and knocking the penultimate red into the middle jaws.
Returning for the evening session, Trump proved he was unfazed by the magnitude of his impending success as he seized on a loose break-off from Higgins to compile a break of 94, only running short of a record eighth century when he failed to dislodge the final red.
And he looked set to wrap things up in style in the next frame when despite breaking down on 62, he was embraced by Higgins and could celebrate his belated ascent to the top of his sport.
Trump told BBC Two afterwards: “I can’t put it into words, I’ve worked so hard for this. It was an amazing final.
“John is such a great player, I always seem to raise my game (against him) and still don’t beat him.
“This is probably the best I’ve ever played in a major final – but I still didn’t feel comfortable coming into tonight.
“I can’t put it into words how well I played. That’s what you’ve got to do to beat John… He’s one of the greatest to play the game.”
“Thanks to my brother, he’s been a massive help. I think he’s one of the reasons I’ve done so well.
“My dad is the biggest snooker fan in the world. It’s inspiring to see his motivation. There have been some tough times and bad losses but inspiration to win it for him is what’s got me through.
“From where I was at the start of the season, it’s an incredible achievement. The results have really paid off this season.”
Higgins graciously acknowledged how well his opponent played, saying: “I was the lucky one, I didn’t have to pay for a ticket.
“I was lucky to get nine frames. Good luck to him. This is the first of many (World Championships) I’m sure.
“He produced a standard that’s incredible. I gave it everything but he was just unplayable.
“Playing my third final in a row is brilliant and I’m delighted to get there – but I came up against an unstoppable machine.”