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Page last updated at 22:22 GMT, Wednesday, 29 April 2009 23:22 UK

Epic win sees Higgins into semis

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live.


John Higgins

Highlights - Higgins wins tense final frame decider

John Higgins set up a semi-final with Mark Allen after overcoming Mark Selby 13-12 in a superb World Championship quarter-final.

Resuming at 4-4 the two took four frames apiece during the first session to remain locked together at 8-8.

In the final session, Higgins was never ahead until the very final frame but his resilience earned him the victory.

Neil Robertson beat world number two Stephen Maguire 13-8 to set up a semi-final match with Shaun Murphy.

"I really don't know how I won that match," said Higgins.

"I think I only counted three or four balls in the whole match that he missed.

"I'm flabbergasted. He's such a great player. That was probably my best win ever. That's how highly I regard Mark and that's how highly I regard his performance."

Higgins was reduced to a virtual spectator in the opening stages on Tuesday as Selby racked up successive breaks of 118, 124 and 117.

But Higgins won four of the next five frames and only Stephen Hendry's maximum earlier in the day denied the two-time champion the highest break of the tournament as he cleared the table with a fine 141 in the seventh.

However, Selby regrouped and took the next frame, falling just four short of another century break in the process.

Resuming at 4-4 on Wednesday, two-times champion Higgins began in devastating fashion by rattling in breaks of 84, 53 and 83 to claim the first three frames before Selby replied in even greater style with a four-frame winning run.

606: DEBATE
Dwayne-Dibbley

A break of 60 from Higgins looked to have won the 16th frame for him, but Selby seized upon an opening and amassed 55 before relinquishing the table back to Higgins who made no mistakes to level matters.

Selby won the next two frames - the second courtesy of a break of 119 - but in keeping with the nature of the contest Higgins hit back again to claim the next two.

Two tightly-contested frames later it was 11-11 as Selby edged ahead once again, only for the resolute Higgins to respond once more.

Selby moved ahead once again, potting the final red after a safety battle to take a see-sawing 23rd frame, but his mistakes allowed Higgins to take the match to a final-frame decider.

Following two re-racks, Higgins finally emerged victorious thanks to a break of 75, and he now faces Mark Allen after the Northern Irishman earlier beat Ryan Day 13-11.

"We were sitting there at the two re-racks and he said, 'Can we just call it a draw because there shouldn't be a loser in this match?'," said Higgins.

"I said, 'You're dead right there mate'. I don't know how I held myself together."

After a victory over Ali Carter in the previous round, Robertson remains in a good position for another rankings upset despite losing the first two frames of Wednesday's opening session with Maguire .

Maguire claimed the first frame of the session - a low-scoring, hour-long affair.

His break of 115 in the 10th frame not only brought him level with Robertson but was also the 69th century break of the tournament, a record number for the World Championship.

Robertson restored his advantage by taking the next two frames to go in at the interval 7-5 up, much to Maguire's frustration.

Neil Robertson

Highlights - Maguire misses twice to let in Robertson

Maguire took the first frame after the interval by capitalising on Robertson's miss on the final red before Robertson took the next two for a 9-6 lead.

The Australian extended his lead further by claiming frames 16 and 17 but courtesy of a break of 78, Maguire won the final frame before the mid-session interval to give himself a slight hope of a comeback.

If Maguire was to mount a genuine late challenge it was vital he took the next frame but it was Robertson who claimed it to put himself within one of the semi-finals.

Maguire was able to deny Robertson initially by taking the 18th frame with a break of 78.

He could not prevent him a second time, although what was to be the final frame was not without drama as a Maguire error allowed Robertson to move within a pink and black of victory only for him to miss the former following an untimely kick.

However, Maguire could not capitalise and missed the pink himself, leaving Robertson to clear up.

"Tonight was great. My long game was absolutely fantastic and I think it must have killed him," said Robertson.

"This is a great moment for me."

In contrast, Maguire said: "It was pure rubbish, embarrassing at times.

"I'm so disappointed in myself that I never even stood up to a little challenge. I gave him an easy pass through to the semis and I'm raging with myself."

Robertson will play Murphy in the semi-final after he overcame Stephen Hendry 13-11.



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see also
Murphy ousts Hendry to make semis
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Allen sees off Day to reach semis
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Crucible photos
26 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Hendry behind despite 147 break
28 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Higgins edges out Cope in classic
27 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Selby eases through to face Dott
20 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Higgins and Maguire ease through
23 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship latest scores
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker


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