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John Higgins stuns Mark Williams to reach Northern Ireland quarter-finals

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Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2021 | Day Six Preview and Order of Play

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Northern Ireland Open Snooker 2021 | Quarter-Finals Preview and Order of Play

Higgins and Williams collide (Photo by George Wood/PA Images)

John Higgins produced a magnificent turnaround from 3-0 down to stun Mark Williams 4-3 and advance to the Northern Ireland Open quarter-finals in Belfast.

Higgins had lost each of his four previous encounters with fellow Class of 92 member Williams, including an 18-16 the 2018 World Championship final.

Another reverse was looming large for the Wizard, who fell 3-0 behind at the Waterfront Hall on Thursday.

Despite an ongoing struggle with gout, Williams produced a break of 69 and a neat 53 clearance from 56-24 down in frame three to close in on a commanding victory.

However, Higgins dug deep; edging a narrow fourth frame before a wonderful break of 110 cut the deficit to 3-2.

He then recovered from 53-0 down in the sixth, before clearing from yellow to pink to force a decider, which he controlled to complete a remarkable win.

Next up for Higgins is Championship League winner David Gilbert, who hit breaks of 115, 71 and 68 in his 4-2 victory over World champion Mark Selby.

Elsewhere, Ronnie O’Sullivan came out on the wrong end of a deciding frame, going down 4-3 against Yan Bingtao.

Eyeing a fourth successive final at this event, O’Sullivan twice led before trailing 3-2, only to produce a stunning 73 clearance from 71-0 down in frame six to set up a dramatic climax.

However, Masters champion Yan held his nerve to set up a showdown with Mitchell Mann, who defeated Lyu Haotian 4-1.

Reigning champion Judd Trump was pegged back twice by former European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson before prevailing a 4-3 winner.

The Ace will face Mark Allen in the quarter-finals. Despite seeing a 3-1 lead slip, the home favourite produced a timely break of 69 to scrape past Stephen Maguire.

Shaun Murphy hit breaks of 110, 71 and 63 in a commanding 4-1 win over Stuart Bingham and will now play Ricky Walden, who edged out Jackson Page 4-3.

Earlier in the day, Neil Robertson and Jack Lisowski bowed out in round three, losing to Walden and Page respectively.


Northern Ireland Open 2021 Results

Thursday October 14

Last 32

Mark Allen 4-1 Matthew Stevens
Liam Highfield 2-4 Stephen Maguire
Neil Robertson 1-4 Ricky Walden
Jackson Page 4-0 Jack Lisowski

Last 16

Ronnie O’Sullivan 3-4 Yan Bingtao
Lyu Haotian 1-4 Mitchell Mann
Shaun Murphy 4-1 Stuart Bingham
John Higgins 4-3 Mark Williams
Judd Trump 4-3 Jimmy Robertson
Mark Allen 4-3 Stephen Maguire
Jackson Page 3-4 Ricky Walden
Mark Selby 2-4 David Gilbert