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John Higgins slams ‘pathetic’ Crucible schedule after soaring into Quarter-Finals

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John Higgins admits “pockets are playing bigger than normal” at the World Snooker Championship

Higgins hit four centuries as he swept Wilson aside at the Crucible (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

John Higgins stormed through to the World Championship quarter-finals after a 13-2 rout of Kyren Wilson, but took a swipe at the “pathetic” Crucible schedule.

The four-time champion secured his 17th appearance in the last eight of snooker’s blue-riband event after comprehensively sweeping Wilson aside with a session to spare on Sunday.

Higgins raced into a commanding 8-0 following a dominant opening session, and did not relent in the second to ensure an extra day’s rest before facing either Mark Selby or Gary Wilson in the quarter-finals.

That match will commence at 2.30pm BST on Tuesday before concluding with successive sessions at 2.30pm and 7pm the following day.

The unique scheduling was implemented with the aim of having every session produce at least one match conclusion. But it does not sit well with the Scotsman.

“It’s pathetic isn’t it?” Higgins told Eurosport. “I’ve been coming for 29 years and every year, there’s a quarter where you’re going back-to-back sessions in a quarter-final of a World Championship.

“It’s terrible, absolutely terrible. It’s pathetic. Why? Why are you out there playing for like 10 hours?

“It depends the way the match is going. If you’re well in front, it can be great because you just want to roll on with it. But if you’re well behind, you want to have a little break and you don’t want the other guy to still feel good.

“It’s just really bad planning and we’ve had it for so many years. It should be eight frames – 2.30pm Tuesday, then 10am, then 7pm.”

On the victory, he added: “I’m over the moon. To beat him with a session to spare, I’d never have believed that was possible.

“I felt as if I could just play there all day, I just felt really good. You don’t get that feeling many times here.

“8-0 in front, it was amazing. I came in thinking to try and share the session 4-4, I’d have took that at 12-4 in front. But it’s a bonus winning and getting a day off.”

Higgins made a statement of intent with back-to-back centuries in the opening two frames and was far too strong for Wilson, who arrived in fine form having hit a magical maximum break during his first-round win over Ryan Day.

The 2020 runner-up’s cause was not helped when his cue sustained mild damage while signing autographs for spectators in between sessions.

Also a two-time semi-finalist in the past five years, Wilson is disappointed to see another opportunity to land the Crucible crown go begging.

“I’m very disappointed with that, it’s not easy to take, losing with a session to spare,” he said. “It’s not in my nature to let that happen, but it just ran away from me. I felt like anything that could have gone wrong, went wrong.

“John showed the class act that he is, he just kept turning the screw, he gave me nothing.

“It’s just frustrating. I feel like I’m so close all of the time, I’m always knocking on the door. I don’t think it’ll be long until you see me doing that to these great players. But while they’re still around, I need to find a way of beating them. That’s the difference.”

Four-time champion Selby is three frames away from meeting Higgins in the last eight. The Jester won the last four frames of his second session against Gary Wilson to pull clear at 10-6 ahead.

Meanwhile, Anthony McGill is on the brink of advancing to his fourth World Championship quarter-final after establishing an 11-5 advantage over Jack Lisowski.

The Glasgow Gladiator won two of the second session’s first three frames on the colours to go 10-1 to the good, though Jackpot took four of the next five frames to avert defeat with a session to spare.

Si Jiahui is also two frames from the last eight. The Chinese debutant hit breaks of 71 and 67 to move 11-5 ahead of Welsh Open champion Robert Milkins.

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World Snooker Championship 2023 Day Nine Scores

Sunday April 23

Second Round

Anthony McGill 11-5 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson 6-10 Mark Selby
Robert Milkins 5-11 Si Jiahui
Kyren Wilson 2-13 John Higgins

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