John Higgins
Main News, Non-Ranking

‘I can’t play any better than that’ – John Higgins into last four

John Higgins motored into the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions with a dominant display on Wednesday in Bolton.

The 2016 winner thrashed tournament debutant Chris Wakelin 4-0 in the first round, setting up a Group FInal (quarter-final) tie against Ding Junhui.

The latter – a late replacement after the withdrawal of Ronnie O’Sullivan – had earlier survived a marathon and dramatic contest with the in-form Zhang Anda.

Ding showed little signs of tiredness when he responded to Higgins’ opening break of 96 with a terrific 106 of his own.

However, it was one-way traffic after that as the Wizard of Wishaw reeled off runs of 83, 80, 93, 86, and 82 in a perfect performance.

It’s only the third time Higgins has reached the Champion of Champions semi-finals, and in the penultimate round he’ll face Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen.

“I’m delighted with that,” John Higgins told Matchroom Sport. “I can’t play any better than that really.”

“I’ve done six 80-odd breaks, it was good. I really enjoyed playing out there.

“Sometimes you’re out there in front of a big crowd, and you can maybe get into your shell. But I felt good out there tonight, so that was great.

“It’s a brilliant venue here, it really is. I’ve always enjoyed playing here – it’s great for the spectators and good for your friends as well.

“The balcony is overlooking things. I loved it out there tonight, and now I can’t wait to come back out on Saturday.

“I knew I was going to have my work cut out, because Ding had a great result against Anda Zhang.

“We always have great matches, me and Mark (Allen). We’ve not played a lot as professionals.

“But every time we’ve played, we always seem to have really high-quality games.

“The last time we played, he managed to pip me in the Northern Ireland Open final 9-8.

“I suppose I maybe owe him one back, but I can’t wait to play him. I can’t wait.”

On Thursday, the remaining section will be contested to determine the fourth semi-finalist.

Judd Trump will be a big favourite against women’s world champion Baipat Siripaporn, with the winner to face either Shaun Murphy or Gary Wilson.

2023 Champion of Champions

Monday (Group 4)
Last 16 (bo7)
Mark Allen 4-1 Jimmy White
Mark Selby 3-4 Ali Carter

Quarter-Final (bo11)
Mark Allen 6-2 Ali Carter

Tuesday (Group 2)
Last 16 (bo7)
Luca Brecel 0-4 Barry Hawkins
Mark Williams 2-4 Robert Milkins

Quarter-Final (bo11)
Barry Hawkins 6-2 Robert Milkins

Wednesday (Group 1)
Last 16 (bo7)
John Higgins 4-0 Chris Wakelin
Ding Junhui 4-3 Zhang Anda

Quarter-Final (bo11)
John Higgins 6-1 Ding Junhui

Thursday (Group 3)
Last 16 (bo7)
Judd Trump 4-0 Baipat Siripaporn
Shaun Murphy 4-1 Gary Wilson

Quarter-Final (bo11)
Judd Trump 6-4 Shaun Murphy

Semi-Final (bo11)
Barry Hawkins 3-6 Judd Trump

Semi-Final (bo11)
John Higgins 2-6 Mark Allen

Final (bo19)

Judd Trump 3-10 Mark Allen

Featured photo credit: WST

One Comment

  1. Not often you see six one visit contributions by one player in a best of 11.

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