Friday 19 January 2018

Higgins keeps dream of third Masters alive with stirring comeback

World No 3 John Higgins came from 2-0 down to beat Ali Carter 6-3 and book his place in the quarter-finals of the Masters.

Carter got off to the ideal start at Alexandra Palace when he won the first two frames, the second of them despite having needed two snookers.

But Higgins (below) then rattled in a 117 clearance to kick-start a run of four frames in succession and although Carter reduced the deficit, Higgins went on to seal victory as he seeks a third Masters title.

It all looked good for former World Championship finalist Carter when he won the second frame in unlikely fashion after needing two snookers.

He got the second of those when Higgins, who is using a new cue this season, got too much swerve on an escape attempt and missed the brown, only for Higgins to then fluke a snooker behind the blue.

However, Carter fluked the brown as he escaped from the snooker and landed perfectly on the blue, before eventually sealing the frame on the black.

"I was still feeling okay," Higgins said. "I hadn't missed much and felt fine and that's half the battle. It's only you and your mind out there and I was still in the game, so you just get on with it."

Higgins did precisely that with a superb break of 117 in the next and also took the fourth frame to make it 2-2 at the mid-session interval.

The Scot took the next two frames as well, the sixth with a break of 97, and after Carter hit back with 83 to reduce the gap, Higgins made it 5-3 in a scrappy eighth frame.

Carter was in first with 54 in the ninth frame but missed a pink to the middle pocket and Higgins stepped in to seal victory with a clearance of 65.

"I was thinking Ali was going to pull it back to 5-5 because I was beginning to feel the pressure a bit, but luckily I held myself together," Higgins said.

Irish Independent

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