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Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 17:06 UK

Higgins squeezes out O'Sullivan

GRAND PRIX
Venue: Kelvin Hall, Glasgow Date: Saturday 3 October-Sunday 11 October Coverage: BBC Two, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website

Ronnie O'Sullivan

Video - Rocket blows it on easy red

World champion John Higgins came from 4-3 down to beat Ronnie O'Sullivan 5-4 in a thrilling battle and reach the quarter-finals of the Grand Prix.

The Scot had to watch the world number one open with a 131 break but he hit back to win the next two frames.

O'Sullivan overcame the wobbles to lead 3-2 and a 71 got him within one of victory after another Higgins recovery.

But a missed red saw Higgins level it at 4-4 on the black and the 34-year-old secured victory with a nerveless 94.

"I thought I was all over the place and felt really on edge," Higgins told BBC Sport. "I felt if Ronnie upped it a bit, I would get beat.

Higgins admits scrappy form

"I missed a few, but that is what it has been like when I have played Ronnie recently. People expect a high-quality match, but sometimes you do not produce."

In Wednesday's other second-round clashes, Northern Ireland's Mark Allen, a semi-finalist at the Crucible this year, overcame a 3-2 deficit to beat Englishman Jamie Cope 5-3.

Australia's Neil Robertson, who won this title in 2006, opened up with a break of 94 as he raced into a 3-0 lead over Ken Doherty.

The Irishman took the next two scrappy frames, but Robertson clinched victory with breaks of 77 and 88 in the next two.

Joe Perry reached the mid-session interval against Barry Pinches 4-0 up before eventually winning by the same scoreline as Robertson.

Higgins and O'Sullivan produced as many stunning shots as they missed easy ones which only added to the drama in their nine-frame encounter in Glasgow.

It was O'Sullivan who got out of the blocks the quickest against the player he praised ahead of this tournament by saying he had "under-achieved" despite bagging the world championship three times.

606: DEBATE
jeffranger

A 131 break had Higgins immediately on the ropes but the Scot battled back to edge ahead 2-1.

The 33-year-old Londoner looked in determined mood, on the back of his Shanghai Masters victory last month, and won two successive frames helped by two moments of magic in the fifth.

The first was a double-kiss safety shot on the pink tight against the bottom cushion and then he secured a 3-2 lead by sinking the pink after playing it around four cushions.

Despite trailing 57-0 in the next, Higgins once again showed his powers of dogged recovery to level at 3-3.

O'Sullivan then got within a whisker of victory after a quick-fire break of 71 was followed by an opportunity to clear up in the eighth as he eyed up an easy red.

How he will be kicking himself as Higgins cleared up from the blue to set up the deciding frame and then hit a cool break of 94 to progress.



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see also
Grand Prix draw and latest scores
04 Oct 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan secures Grand Prix win
06 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Higgins eases past rookie Joyce
03 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Hendry not ruling out world title
06 Oct 09 |  Snooker
Pinches defeats Murphy in Glasgow
05 Oct 09 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan questions Higgins haul
30 Sep 09 |  Snooker


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