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John Higgins makes a majestic maximum break at the British Open

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Higgins is congratulated by Ursenbacher (ITV Sport)

John Higgins produced a sensational maximum break on his way to victory over Alexander Ursenbacher in the opening round of the 2021 British Open in Leicester.

Higgins, who won the most recent staging of the British Open in 2004, picked up from where he left off with a magnificent 147 at the Morningside Arena on Monday.

The 46-year-old made the perfect start to the contest as he pocketed 15 reds with blacks before clearing the remaining colours to put himself in line for the £5,000 high break bonus.

The break is Higgins’ 12th career maximum, moving him into second on the all-time list – three adrift of rival Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Switzerland’s Ursenbacher levelled the match with a break of 61 in frame two, but Higgins proved too strong as he added breaks of 78 and 57 to close out a 3-1 victory.

The new-look Scot appeared to be reaping the benefits of a strict weight loss regime, having attended regular spinning classes during the summer break.

“Any time you get a maximum break it’s a great break and that was no different,” Higgins told ITV Sport. “I’m delighted.

“It’s brilliant just to have the crowd back, I know I played in front of one at The Crucible [in April] but there was not a lot of people there when I got knocked out.

On his weight loss, Higgins added: “It helps you get around the table easier, there’s no disguising that fact.

“Hopefully I can keep it up and keep the weight off until the end of my career.”

Higgins will now await his Second Round opponent from the random draw to be conducted following the conclusion of the First Round on Wednesday afternoon.