Phil Haigh ✍️
John Higgins is into the World Snooker Championship quarter-final for a 16th time after a pretty comfortable 13-7 win over Noppon Saenghkham.
After a tight start to the match, the four-time champion pulled away impressively, winning seven frames on the spin in the second session.
The rising Thai star was not to be brushed aside entirely, making a fight of it in the final session, but his hopes were forlorn by then, despite a brilliant attempt at a maximum which ended on 112.
Waiting for the Wizard of Wishaw in the quarter-finals will be either Neil Robertson or Jack Lisowski, who play to the finish of their second round match on Monday evening.
‘Really happy, I knew it was going to be a tough game against Noppon,’ Higgins told Eurosport. ‘First session was pretty scrappy, but last night I came out and played a lot better.
‘I thought it was good this afternoon. Noppon had a great chance to make a maximum, I was willing him on to do it. No, I’m really happy.’
Higgins took an early lead in the contest, winning the first three frames and then the fifth with a 90 break to impose himself on his less experienced opponent.
Noppon wasn’t deterred though, scrapping back and enjoying a bit of good fortune to end the first session level at 4-4.
The Thai celebrated to his supporters in the crowd as the players left the arena, but things went downhill badly for him when they returned on Sunday evening.
Noppon pinched the last frame of the day to stay alive, but the four-time world champion returned on Monday needing just two frames for a spot in the last eight.
The Wizard of Wishaw won the next seven frames, knocking in a couple of centuries along the way, and putting himself in a very commanding position.
He got the first of those at the earliest opportunity, but in dramatic style as Noppon fought back in the 17th to force a re-spotted black, only for the Scot to fire in a superb shot to the middle bag to go one from victory.
The 29-year-old kept his hopes alive with a break of 70 in the next and then had the Crucible crowd on the edge of their seats as he looked on for a maximum break before narrowly missing the final red.
Higgins briefly gave hope of a max in the next, but lost position on 40, but he came back to the table and got the job done thanks to a half-century and he will be back on the table in the last eight on Tuesday afternoon.
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