Monday, 14 January 2013

Higgins heads past Carter

If the opening day of the Masters was about defending champion Neil Robertson firing a warning to the rest of the field that he's up for the fight - then day two was about the response of another tournament favourite.

Picture by Monique Limbos
John Higgins faced one of the toughest possible draws in round one against Ali Carter, who has reached the final and semi-final respectively in the last two BBC events.

But after finding himself 2-0 down, the Scot came back to win 6-3 with as he found his form and proved he's also prepared to battle.

Higgins is quick to mention that he hasn't got the best record when it comes to playing at the Masters; losing ten times in the opening round. Despite this, he's also managed to reach four finals - and win two of them.

He often hasn't produced his best in this tournament because he used to dislike playing at Wembley. Last year he reached the semi-final in the first year at Ally Pally, despite never really excelling past his famously good enough B-game.

He arrives back in London a year later in far better form and having already picked up two pieces of silverware this season.

He has got his motivation back and seems to be reaping the rewards on the table for his work off it.

Higgins often fares better in tournaments when he doesn't start at his very best. He can improve on the performance he put in against Carter. There won't be one player who would take on Higgins out of choice this week. He is always dangerous, and knows how to win matches no matter how he's playing.

Scotland wasn't only celebrating Higgins' passage to the quarter-finals. Graeme Dott managed to come out a 6-5 winner in a dramatic match against Stephen Maguire.

The quality in this match dipped in and out but Graeme can take confidence from the spirit he showed, after a long spell low on confidence. He's a fierce competitor who will keep going to the bitter end.

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