Scotland’s four-time World Champion John Higgins pipped Chris Wakelin 5-4 at qualifying in Cannock to clinch his place in the final stages of the BetVictor European Masters.
Higgins will be pleased to immediately bounce back from a loss in BetVictor German Masters qualifying against Thailand’s Noppon Saengkham earlier this week. Today’s win earns a trip to Fürth in February.
The Glaswegian came to Cannock in good form after reaching the final of the recent BetVictor Northern Ireland Open, where he was edged 9-8 in an epic encounter with home favourite Mark Allen.
However, Higgins had looked in trouble during the early stages this evening. Breaks of 78, 52 and 91 saw world number 65 Wakelin establish a 3-1 advantage at the mid-session.
When play resumed, Higgins took three on the bounce to turn the game on its head and lead 4-3. Wakelin refused to back down and a break of 90 forced a decider. However, it was Higgins who took a 40-minute frame to progress.
Joe Perry won just his second knockout match of the season, with a tense 5-4 victory against Steven Hallworth.
Former Players Champion Perry had trailed 4-3 this evening, but a break of 60 saw him take the eighth and set up a blockbuster finale. The Gentleman snatched the decisive frame on the final black.
Masters champion Yan Bingtao defeated Ben Woollaston 5-2 to progress, while four-time ranking event winner Ali Carter defeated Martin O’Donnell 5-2.
Former German Masters winner Martin Gould whitewashed three-time women’s World Champion Ng On Yee 5-0 and Gary Wilson beat Sanderson Lam 5-3.
Qualifying continues in Cannock on Saturday.