Hendry finishes off Higgins

Maguire awaits in all-Scottish quarter-final at the Crucible

Last Updated: 28/04/12 8:23pm

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Stephen Hendry completed a 13-4 win over defending champion John Higgins in the second round of the World Championship.

Higgins played one of the worst sessions of his career on Friday night to gift it 7-1 to Hendry, who had already been 5-3 in front after a tighter morning eight frames.

And armed with a 12-4 lead, there was no way seven-time world champion Hendry was going to lose the long-awaited first Crucible meeting with his fellow Scot.

Higgins was on course to take the opening frame on Saturday afternoon but missed a pink, and a break of 64 from Hendry left him needing a snooker.

Surprisingly, perhaps, Higgins played on, with professional pride kicking in. But he could not find the snooker he required, and when he left a red on, Higgins offered his hand in defeat.

"You feel lucky if you get one or two chances against John in a frame. I was getting at times four, five or six chances in a frame ... If someone said I would beat John Higgins 13-4 I would say they were nuts before."
Stephen Hendry Quotes of the week

Hendry plays another of the Scottish contingent, Stephen Maguire, in the last eight.

Surprised

World number 23 Hendry admitted the one-sided nature of the match, and particularly the middle session, had surprised him.

He said: "Last night was probably one of the strangest sessions of snooker I've played at the Crucible. I'm fortunate in the fact John's probably not played as bad in his life at the Crucible as he did last night.

"You feel lucky if you get one or two chances against John in a frame. I was getting at times four, five or six chances in a frame.

"And at times I was coming to the table in shock and not really knowing what to do because it was weird. But you've just to try to win the frames whatever way you can.

"If someone said I would beat John Higgins 13-4 I would say they were nuts before.

"I fully expected him to come out last night with all guns blazing. When his back's against the wall he plays normally his best snooker.

"So I was expecting a really big session, and really my goal last night was to hopefully have a lead still going into the final session or else be very, very close.

"In the end it just turned into a weird session of snooker."

Higgins was puzzled by how he had played. He said: "I have no idea what happened last night. Stephen was very good in the balls, and looked back to his best especially in the first session.

"From 5-3 I thought it would be close, but I ended up dragging him down to my level. I can't describe how bad it was, really, really bad.

"I probably have played worse, but this place can do that to you. I have seen it, it can give you your best moments but also your worst nightmares.

"Even with how bad I was feeling I thought if I could get to 10-6 I had a chance, but I missed a pink and at 11-4 I knew it was over.

"You watch other matches and players and think 'How did they miss that?', but when you're out there and it's going wrong you can see it coming.

"Everything was hard or difficult, even simple positional shots. It's a hard thing, a tough place when you're going through turmoil."

Comfortable

Earlier on Saturday, Maguire completed a 13-7 victory over Joe Perry in their second-round clash.

All the damage was done by the Glasgow potter on Friday as he opened up an 11-5 gap on the Englishman, which proved far too much of a cushion on Saturday.

Perry took the opening two frames of the day, but Maguire responded with two of his own to reach the last eight for the fourth time.

"I think I finished the match yesterday really by winning the second session 7-1," said Maguire. "Even if it had gone 12-8, I'd have had to have fallen over to lose five frames on the spin.

"I played okay in the first two sessions. I think Joe was in in every single frame, so I wouldn't say I played well. I must have stolen about six or seven frames off him, just like I did in the first round against Luca Brecel.

"That's good because it hurts the opponent, but I'm only getting in really because they're missing on 40 or 50, which isn't good enough. If I come up against players who are knocking in 70s or 80s, I'm not going to get any chances to clear up.

"I have to improve."

On the other table on Saturday afternoon, three-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan opened up a 5-3 lead over Williams, winner in 2000 and 2003, in their second-round clash.

O'Sullivan doubled in the green and added brown and blue in the final frame to leave Williams requiring snookers he had no interest in chasing.

The 36-year-old was worth his two-frame cushion, after firing breaks of 57, 53, 95, 56 and 86 to just one half-century, a 64, from Ebbw Vale cueman Williams.

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