Thursday 17 January 2019

Higgins edges into semis

Defending champion John Higgins ended the home challenge at the Wyldecrest Park Homes Welsh Open last night as he saw off Carmarthen's Matthew Stevens.

Former World Championship finalist Stevens, who has won the Masters and UK Championship in a fine career, dropped out of the elite top-16 rankings in 2008 and has been unable to battle his way back.

A decent run in front of home crowds this week saw him deliver a reminder of his talent as well as a hint of a possible renaissance.

But Scotland's world number one proved too strong in their best-of-nine-frames battle, winning 5-3 to reach the semi-finals.

Higgins, playing his first tournament since the death of his father John snr, will take on Essex's Ali Carter tomorrow in a repeat of last year's final.

Higgins went 3-1 ahead with a 132 break, to which Stevens responded with runs of 93 and 58 to draw level at 3-3, but the 35-year-old dug deep when it mattered most.

Carter steamed past Ding Junhui 5-2. Meanwhile, Stephen Maguire knocked out hot favourite Mark Williams 5-3 and will face Mark Selby, who beat Graeme Dott 5-3.

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