Having took a 2-0 lead, Higgins trailed 6-2 overnight in Sheffield. There was a brief recovery from the Scot when the players returned today, but he eventually fell to a 10-6 defeat.
"It is just tough out there. Mark just punished me every shot I missed, and I did miss a couple of easy balls," said Higgins. "That is the difference now. I don't know if it is old age or not, but I just missed certain shots, and I don't know how I missed them.
"I could only ask other people who have been through it, but maybe the strain of it takes it out of you when you get to your late 30s and 40s.
"You can't just put it down to age because Mark is older than me, but maybe he hasn't been at the business end of tournaments so he hasn't got the grey hairs I have now."
Higgins has previously won the tournament on four occasions.