John Higgins discovers old touch to reach Masters last eight

John Higgins produced high-quality snooker to reach the last eight of the Masters with a 6-4 victory over Liang Wenbo yesterday. Picture: PA

John Higgins produced high-quality snooker to reach the last eight of the Masters with a 6-4 victory over Liang Wenbo yesterday. Picture: PA

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John Higgins insists that his confidence is soaring again after producing consistently high-quality snooker to reach the Masters quarter-finals yesterday.

The Wishaw cueman was Scotland’s last man standing at the tournament following Stephen Maguire’s exit earlier in the week and didn’t let his country down – seeing off China’s Liang Wenbo 6-4 at London’s Alexandra Palace.

The two-time Masters champion opened up with a 119 break before compiling two more centuries, one of which saw him pot 13 reds and 13 blacks before running out of position and costing himself a chance to make an eighth maximum 147 break of his career.

Higgins won three ranking events in 2015 after a barren few years but acknowledges that, with Liang playing so well, he feared a repeat of 12 months ago when he lost 6-4 to Mark Allen despite making three centuries.

“I’m delighted with the way I hit the ball – I was just thinking back to my match with Mark Allen and that was a similar standard, but I ended up on the losing end,” said Higgins. “I thought Liang played very well as well – he can look back on the whole game and has probably missed only a couple of balls.

“ It was a really good, high-quality game to be involved in. It’s just pleasing coming to tournaments and thinking I can put up a good performance against the best players.

“I haven’t done that in the last two or three years – I’ve been quite an easy game for most players. It’s good to come and feel confident of doing some damage on the table.”

Higgins will have an opportunity to do some more damage when he faces world champion Stuart Bingham in the last eight tomorrow evening.

Bingham has struggled since winning the world title in May, not advancing beyond a semi-final this season, but Higgins is still relishing the occasion.

“Stuart has done ever so well. He’s obviously had a bit of a slow start as a world champion but it should be a great occasion,” added the 40-year-old.

“He’ll have a lot of family and friends down and it should 
be a good crowd on Friday night. If you can’t get up for that against the world champion, then you shouldn’t be playing.”

l Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing all major ranking events including the Masters, World Championship and the exclusive Ronnie O’Sullivan Show.

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