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John Higgins suffers shock British Open exit despite 900th century

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Liang Wenbo at the centre of controversy on playing return at the British Open Qualifiers

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“It is unforgivable” – Higgins livid after British Open exit

It was a bittersweet day in Milton Keynes for Higgins (Taka G Wu/Alamy Live News)

John Higgins crashed out of the British Open after losing 4-3 to Yuan SiJun, despite making his 900th career century.

The four-time champion was beaten on the final black by the Chinese ace, who booked his place in the third round in Milton Keynes on Tuesday.

Higgins had reached another milestone in his glittering career earlier on at the Marshall Arena; a magnificent break of 132 in frame five making him only the second player after Ronnie O’Sullivan to compile 900 centuries.

That saw the world number five, who also had a run of 78, complete a turnaround from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, but contributions of 57 and 72 helped his opponent force a decider.

The Chinese cueist prevailed on the final black when the pair locked horns at the 2019 German Masters, and history repeated itself as the world number 68 recovered from 64-8 down before clearing the colours to snatch a dramatic victory.

Elsewhere, Zhao Xintong hit three successive centuries on the way to a commanding 4-1 win over Stuart Bingham.

The winner of last season’s UK Championship and German Masters, Zhao made breaks of 112, 128 and 101, before a run of 52 saw him over the line.

Former Crucible kings Mark Selby and Graeme Dott both hit a top break of 110 in their 4-1 triumphs over Mark Joyce and Anthony McGill respectively, while a contribution of 112 was the highlight as Jordan Brown overcame three-time Ladies’ World champion Ng On Yee by the same scoreline.

But there was no joy for David Gilbert. Despite recovering from 3-1 down with breaks of 103 and 88, the former Championship League winner was ousted in a deciding frame by Lyu Haotian.

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