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John Higgins produces incredible clearance to sink Mark Allen in epic Crucible decider

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An emotional Higgins reacts

John Higgins produced a vintage clearance to deny Mark Allen in a thrilling last-frame decider at the World Snooker Championship on Monday.

Trailing by 62 points in the deciding frame, Higgins produced a spectacular double to a middle pocket and followed in with a clinical 71 clearance to clinch a dramatic 13-12 victory and a place in the quarter-finals.

The four-time World Champion came into the final session trailing 9-7 and found himself 10-7 and 12-11 behind before digging deep to snatch victory in breath-taking fashion.

The win sees the 48-year-old progress to an 18th Crucible quarter-final and maintain his position in the world’s top 16 – where he has remarkably remained since 1995.

Higgins, who raised his cue in the air after sinking the black, held back the tears in his post-match interview, admitting: “It’s probably the best [clearance] with what I’ve been through in the last couple of years.

“I think I have still got it. I gave myself a chance with a new cue coming down. Although I missed a few, I was really wanting to go for my shots.

“I was looking around at 12-12 when Mark was on a break, thinking ‘I’ve loved being out here, I’ve loved playing here and I’d love to come back again’ so to hold myself together, I’m proud of myself.

“I’m pretty good under pressure – I have to give myself a pat on the back. I know people over the last couple of years might be thinking I’m not – but I can still hold it together in these pressure moments.”

Allen opened up a three-frame cushion by taking the evening’s opener to make it five frames without reply, before Higgins hit back with three in a row, including breaks of 55 and 64, to restore parity.

A break of 66 saw the Northern Irishman edge back in front and the pair exchanged the next two frames to leave Allen needing just one more for victory at 12-11.

However, a costly missed green from ‘The Pistol’ allowed Higgins off the hook to force a nail-biting decider.

The first chance fell to Allen, but a missed red with the rest on 62 handed Higgins an unexpected reprieve, which he seized emphatically.

The comeback began with a cross double to the right middle pocket, and the final red along the top cushion paved the way for a routine clearance of the colours as the Scot sealed a memorable triumph.

He will now face Kyren Wilson in the quarter-finals, signalling a repeat of their epic semi-final in 2018.

A shell-shocked Allen told BBC Sport: “It had a bit of everything, there was some good stuff in there and some not so good stuff.

“I had more than enough chances to win it and I didn’t take them, so credit to John, he does what he does and clears up in the deciding frame.

“I have only myself to blame.”

A dramatic night in Sheffield also saw Stuart Bingham book his place in the quarter-finals with a 13-11 defeat of Jack Lisowski.

Bingham, the 2015 World Champion, led 9-7 going into the final session and took the opening frame of the evening to move further clear.

Lisowski, though, responded with breaks of 73 and 51 to reduce the deficit but missed two clear cut chances on the pink in frame 20 as Bingham restored a two-frame advantage at 11-9.

Lisowski returned from the interval with an 84 break before piling in the first century of the match with a 123 to get back on level terms.

A huge moment saw Lisowski squander the chance to take the lead as Bingham cleared the remaining colours to make it 12-11, before dominating the next frame to set up a Last Eight showdown with Ronnie O’Sullivan.