John Higgins into Last Eight

John Higgins came from 3-2 down to deny Tom Ford in a decider to reach the quarter-finals of the European Masters in Romania.

Higgins’ last ranking event title was about a year ago – photo credit: Cezara Paraschiv

The Scot wasn’t near his best and struggled for scoring prowess but a 71 break in the sixth frame forced the final frame shoot-out, before Higgins relied on his experience in the last to just about squeeze through.

The 41 year-old’s run matches his previous best of the campaign, when he featured in the last eight of the World Open in July.

Higgins will be hoping to go more than one step better, first awaiting the winner of the Judd Trump and Andrew Higginson tie as he seeks to claim his 29th ranking event crown.

Meanwhile, fellow multiple world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan continued his strongest stretch this season with a solid 4-2 triumph over Mark Allen.

Allen led 1-0 with a superb opening 121, the highest of the event so far, but wasted golden opportunities in the next two frames to fall behind.

The Northern Irishman knocked in tallies of 65 and 55 but watched in agony as the ‘Rocket’ cleaned up both frames with runs of 64 and 60 to steal each on the black.

Allen did manage to win a close frame of his own to draw level at 2-2 but O’Sullivan pulled away with a 77 and an 80 to set up a tie against either Liang Wenbo or Mark Davis.

Elsewhere, Neil Robertson scored heavily, compiling breaks of 103, 82, 67 and 61 in beating young Scot Rhys Clark 4-1.

The Australian, winner of the Riga Masters at the outset of the season, has recovered well following his upset defeat to Ryan Day in the first round of the Shanghai Masters last month.

Finally, 39 year-old Alfie Burden completed his progress to the last eight of a ranking event for only the second time in his career – both happening in 2016 – after a tight deciding frame success over Ricky Walden.

Despite dropping the opening frame, the Arsenal fan took the following three to seemingly take control.

Three-time ranking event champion Walden replied with a 69 to force the final frame, but Burden held his nerve with a 64 break to earn a memorable triumph.

His reward is a potential clash with the world champion Mark Selby, who must first overcome Barry Hawkins as the last 16 concludes on Thursday.

Click here to view the draw.

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