'Rusty' Higgins targets improvement after losing tense decider

·2 min read
John Higgins has targeted an improved showing at the Players Championship following an early Welsh Open exit
John Higgins has targeted an improved showing at the Players Championship following an early Welsh Open exit

A ‘RUSTY’ John Higgins says he will need to improve to stand any chance at next week’s Players Championship following an early exit at the Welsh Open, writes Paul Martin.

The Wizard of Wishaw went down in a deciding frame against Ali Carter in the third round just a day after coming through a thriller in similar circumstances against Ben Woollaston.

Higgins admitted he felt fortunate to have progressed in the first instance and his luck ran out against The Captain, who cleared the table with a 99 break to settle the outcome.

“I played a really bad safety shot in the decider and he knocked in a good long red,” Higgins said.

“It was a tough game – it always is with Ali. There was a lot of good safety and you’ve got to earn your chance.

“I need to get a few days’ practice in before the Players Championship next week, I still feel a bit rusty.

“I have a few things to iron out before that and hopefully I can go and get a win there.”

Higgins also refused to follow Judd Trump in blaming conditions for his Welsh Open departure after being sent packing at Celtic Manor.

Trump, along with fellow top-10 players Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen, was quick to criticise the humidity and table quality in the match but Higgins – who enjoyed a visit of 124 in the sixth frame - was not prepared to offer up excuses.

“It wasn’t great but I’ve got no complaints,” he said.

“It was pretty tough to move the white about but when we got into a bit of rhythm we fed off each other and there were a few breaks.

“It wasn’t ideal but you’ve got to get on with it – it’s the same for both players.”

Anthony McGill followed his fellow Glaswegian in losing a deciding frame in the last 32 but insists a trophy is just around the corner.

“In the last six months I’ve been so happy with my game, it’s just not showing in results,” he said after being edged out by Barry Hawkins.

“I’m putting myself in positions where I have the chance to beat these guys. I’m just getting a bit nervous and too excited, because I know how good they are.

“These guys are not playing better than me. I just have to be patient as it’s not happening, but it will.

“It’s going to click and I’m going to win one of these tournaments, 100 per cent. Maybe it will be the World Championships or (March’s) Gibraltar Open – it will happen soon.”

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