World Championship 2017: John Higgins believes he can win fifth title

Scotland's John Higgins
Scotland's John Higgins reached his eighth world championship semi-final by defeating Kyren Wilson 13-6

John Higgins believes he has the ability and the form to win his fifth World Championship.

The 41-year-old reached the semi-final for the first time since he last lifted the trophy in 2011 with a 13-6 win over Kyren Wilson.

The world number six will now face the winner of Stephen Maguire's match against Barry Hawkins for a place in Sunday's final.

"I believe I can [win], and that's a great feeling to have," Higgins said.

"I was close last year, Alan [McManus] pipped me [in the quarter-final]," he added.

"A couple of years after 2011, I'd been losing, my form wasn't great and you don't think you're going to get back to that one-table set up.

"It's the best place in the world to get out and play and I can't wait to get into the arena tomorrow [Thursday]. I'm buzzing."

Higgins won all three sessions against Wilson, the world number 16, and believes his game has grown in strength over the course of the tournament.

'There are some sessions when I couldn't have played better'

The Scot considers reigning champion Mark Selby as the favourite for the title, while his pre-competition tip was Hawkins. Yet Higgins is in a good place mentally as he prepares for the semi-final.

"The nerves get more difficult, but I'm more relaxed this year," he said.

"I don't know if that's because I feel as if I'm playing OK. At this event, you need to have a few sessions when you have good, frame-winning breaks. I did that against Mark Allen and in the second session against Kyren.

"To win this event you need a couple of sessions when you're dominating the other player. I feel as if my game can be there to do that but I'm sure other players will say the same thing.

"There are some sessions, especially this year, when I couldn't have played any better. I played [Ronnie] O'Sullivan in the final of the Champions and couldn't have played any better. You've just got to hope that comes out in the big matches."

Maguire was once tipped as a potential world champion by O'Sullivan, and Hawkins said the Scot is benefitting from curbing his socialising at tournaments.

Higgins would like to face his compatriot Maguire in the semi-final, because it would guarantee that a Scot will feature in Sunday's final.

"Everybody's got their own choices in life and us Scots, we maybe like a drink and there's nothing wrong with that," Higgins said. "Life's too short.

"Stephen is a great player and I hope [he] comes through. If he was to beat me, I would be the first one to cheer him to win his first world title.

"But I get on well with Barry as well and I know how difficult he is to beat. In the last few years he's grown into a great champion, because he always had the game and he's got the belief now."

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