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Page last updated at 23:13 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

John Higgins trumps Ronnie O'Sullivan at Welsh Open

Venue: Newport Centre Date: 25-31 January
Coverage: Live on BBC Two Wales and online, plus score updates on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru, BBC Radio 5 live and online

John Higgins
Higgins will hope to add the Welsh Open to his world title

John Higgins will take on defending champion Ali Carter in the Welsh Open final after overcoming Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-4 at the Newport Centre.

The Scot won the final three frames to book his place in Sunday's showdown as the world number one struggled late on.

Carter is within one match of retaining his title after securing a 6-3 semi-final win over Stephen Maguire.

The 30-year-old, who beat Joe Swail in last year's final, never relinquished control after taking an early 3-0 lead.

"I feel as good as I ever have and feel confident in my game," said Higgins.


"I've lost in a couple of semi-finals so I'm hoping I can win this one. Ali is next door to me in the hotel so I'll keep the television on all night to try and put him off."

The meeting between the world champion and the Shanghai Masters winner had seemed set to go down to the wire with only a frame separating them until the end.

O'Sullivan claimed a hard-fought opener 64-53 and re-established his lead with a break of 81 in the third after the Scot had levelled.

Higgins hit the front for the first time as he followed a superb run of 138 in the fourth with a scrappier 61-28 win in the fifth.

O'Sullivan responded in kind with successive frames, but they were to be his last as his form deserted him.

He went over half an hour without potting as Higgins enjoyed the best of the eighth and clinically closed out the ninth.

Ali Carter
His 2009 Welsh Open title was Carter's first major trophy

When O'Sullivan saw a risky red drop but the cue ball follow at the start of the tenth, Higgins took full advantage to book a showdown against a player he has never lost to.

After getting off to a similarly swift start against Ryan Day in his quarter-final, Carter put together breaks of 72 and 95 to immediately force Maguire on to the back foot.

After the third had also gone Carter's way, the pair traded frames for the remainder of the match with the world number two unable to string together the form required to force his way back into the encounter.

After seeing Carter restore his three-frame advantage with victory in the seventh, Maguire clawed his way back to 5-3, taking the eighth 91-56, despite requiring 11 attempts to escape a snooker - just two short of equalling an unwelcomed world record.

But a break of 80 from Carter put an end to the contest.

"It was a tough match - I never felt that comfortable out there so I'm delighted to get through," he said.

"But looking at who I've got in the final I know I'm going to have to up my game a bit.

"I'm pleased with what I'm doing, I'm just trying to take the expectation off myself and look at one ball at a time and one frame at a time."

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see also
Welsh Open 2010 scores/schedule
31 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Dominant O'Sullivan beats Allen
29 Jan 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan races to win over Cope
28 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Holder Carter defeats Robertson
27 Jan 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan too good for Bingham
26 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Champion Carter through in Wales
25 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Welsh Open wins new sponsor deal
22 Jan 10 |  Snooker
Carter storms to Welsh Open title
22 Feb 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker

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