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Higgins Comes Through Walden Test

John HiggtinsJohn Higgins saw off Ricky Walden 13-8 at the Betfred World Championship to set up an all-Scottish quarter-final against Alan McManus.

Higgins has been arguably the best player of the season so far having won the Australian Goldfields Open and International Championship, and the 40-year-old now into the last eight at the Crucible and chasing a fifth world crown.

Walden came to Sheffield in form having reached the final of the last two ranking events, but was no match for world number eight Higgins, who was never behind throughout the contest.

Leading 10-6 going into the final session, Wizard of Wishaw Higgins won the first frame tonight with a top break of 59. Chester’s Walden battled back to take the next two frames with runs of 62 and 84 to close to 11-8. But Higgins soon snuffed up his hopes of a fight back with breaks of 92 and 99 to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since he won his fourth title in 2011.

“I don’t think Ricky played anywhere near as well as he can,” said Higgins, winner of 28 ranking events. “He’d be the first to admit that he didn’t play his best, and that probably contributed to me winning.

“I didn’t play brilliant snooker during the match, but I managed to nick some of the scrappy frames, that was the difference.

“Two years ago I was telling the press I was a journeymen player, so it’s nice to come back here and be sitting in the quarter finals. I’ve won a few events in the last 18 months, I’m in a great place compared to where I was back then.

John Higgtins“I’m playing my good mate next, it should be a good occasion. I have so much respect for Alan. I went into the Masters Club in Glasgow when I was just 15, when he was just on the verge of turning professional. I watched him day in and day out, I was lucky enough to practise with him a lot, I learned so much from him. And he’s a great guy as well.

“It’s a dream for the two of us, may the best man win, at least Scotland will have one man in the semi-finals.”

Walden said: “I just didn’t compete in the safety department, I gave away so many cheap frames. You’ve got to compete in every department to get close to winning and I didn’t really do that.

“I’ve got to improve. I need to improve in every department if I want to go all the way in this kind of tournament. I would like to see John win it now, he would be my pick.”