Higgins stings Ding in front of Chinese crowd

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John Higgins gave a masterclass to stun the Chinese crowd as home hero Ding Junhui suffered a 5-0 quarter-final thrashing at the Scot’s hands in the Haikou World Open.

Higgins will have rarely played better in a best-of-nine-frames match, and he outscored Ding by an overwhelming points margin of 523-40.

He began with back-to-back centuries of 141 and 113, added a 73 to lead 3-0 and then threatened a maximum break briefly in frame four, potting a near-miraculous long red into the yellow pocket via a deliberate deflection off the brown.

That break ended after seven reds and seven blacks, but Higgins soon had the frame wrapped up, and although Ding briefly threatened to make a fight of the fifth, the whitewash was soon complete.

“I didn’t really miss any easy shots and when I did miss I got a bit lucky,” said Higgins. “Even at 4-0 down, Ding is still dangerous. He could have done the same to me as I did to him.”

Higgins, 37, has played himself into form this week after winning just three matches in total during the last four major tournaments.

Defending champion Mark Allen stands in Higgins’ way, after a 5-1 victory over Ricky Walden.

Matthew Stevens earned a fine 5-3 victory over Judd Trump, featuring breaks of 64, 70 and 79.

Neil Robertson awaits Stevens in the semi-finals after he ousted Mark Selby 5-3.

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