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Page last updated at 21:20 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Higgins battles back to defeat Fu

Venue: Wembley Arena, London Date: Sunday 11 - Sunday 18 January
Coverage: BBC Television, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website

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Higgins flukes black to beat Fu

Former champion John Higgins fought back superbly to defeat Marco Fu 6-4 in the Masters first round at Wembley.

Having hit a break of 140 in frame two, the Scotsman should have gone into the mid-session interval 3-1 up but lost a frame he led by 67 points.

Fu took the next two frames to open a 4-2 lead, before Higgins, captured the final four, including a fluke on the deciding black in the final frame.

Meanwhile Mark Allen thumped Ryan Day 6-1 to secure his quarter-final place.

The pattern for a fluctuating match between Higgins and Fu was set by the opening frame, in which both players squandered several opportunities.

Fu opened with a 33 but missed a long red with the rest. Higgins ran out of position on 25, but he returned for a composed clearance of 39.

There was little doubt about the second frame, as Higgins showed all his renowned break-building qualities to rattle in a 140 clearance, easily the highest break of the tournament so far.

Fu battled his way back to take the third, but should have been 3-1 down at the mid-session interval.

Higgins, winner in 1999 and 2006, compiled a 67 and was 67 ahead with 71 remaining, but went in-off potting the final brown and the frame went to a re-spotted black, which Fu sank.

The match remained closely fought throughout, and looked as if it would go to a deciding frame.

However Higgins dispatched a superb long pink, before his stroke of good fortune with the final black, which bounced out of the jaws and across into the opposite corner pocket.

Allen's victory was comprehensive as he followed up his victory over Judd Trump in the wildcard round on Monday to beat Day in just 95 minutes.

Day took the opening frame but Allen roared back to take the next six, which included a break of 140, to book his place in the quarter-final.

"To go out and play like that in a big tournament against a player as good as Ryan is really encouraging," said 22-year-old Allen.

"I felt great, my long pots were going in and my safety was solid as well."

Allen now faces defending champion Mark Selby at Wembley Arena on Thursday.

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see also
Murphy makes early Masters exit
13 Jan 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan wants X Factor glitz
12 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Selby ready for Masters defence
09 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Masters draw
05 Jan 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
16 Sep 08 |  Snooker

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