His recent record in the World Championships has not been the best, despite winning the championship three times, those are the only three occasions in which he has progressed beyond the second round, and though winning it three times in four years is achievement not been seen since the days of Hendry, (until this year perhaps) his most recent Crucible displays have been tepid to say the least, with the only win to show since his last title here a nervy 10-9 victory over Liang Wenbo in a match, truth be told he shouldn't have won, a 13-4 hammering to Hendry coupled with first round defeats in the last two years.
What maintained him as a contender is that he produced the goods when the back was firmly being planted against the wall. A 7-2 deficit to defeat an on form Judd Trump in the Shanghai Masters final was memorable, but it seems to been the glimpse of a positive in recent times. Last 16 exits in the 2011 and 2012 UK Championships, certainly unacceptable for a player of John's calibre though all due credit goes to the players who beat him.
The 2013/14 season has seen what is almost a now progressive decline in John's performances, having failed to reach the semi-finals of every tournament since July, and having only really threatened to reach the last four of a tournament at the Masters when he probably should've put Selbt away, he's not produced anything described as a very good performance. This has culminated at the Crucible though having pulled off a decent run of three frames to close the gap to 9-7 this morning, he didn't deserve to win, and truthfully never looked like winning the match the whole time through.
I've said for a while that if you wanted one man to chase a game for you it would be Higgins, but over the last 20 months, he has grown more and more unreliable in that regard.
John's ranking is the lowest it's been for a long time now and he seems he's safe enough for the 16 for next season on the money list. The question now I ask is that having had two poor seasons in a row, does today's exit to a player John would have defeated comfortably a couple of years ago, mark the beginning of the end of the Wizard of Wishaw?
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