Chris Wakelin's 119 To Win The BetVictor Shoot Out
Higgins Survives Cao Scare
Scotland’s home hero John Higgins rallied from 3-2 down to beat China’s Cao Yupeng 4-3 and keep his hopes alive at the BetVictor Scottish Open in Edinburgh.
Higgins is aiming to capture the Stephen Hendry Trophy for the first time in his career, having been runner-up on two occasions. He lost the 2016 final 9-4 to Marco Fu and fell short in the 2021 title match by a 9-5 scoreline against Luca Brecel.
Glasgow’s 31-time ranking event winner played some superb snooker throughout last season, making five major finals, but didn’t add to his silverware collection. Higgins’ last ranking title came at the 2021 Players Championship.
Breaks of 72 and 73 gave four-time World Champion Higgins an early 2-0 lead this afternoon, before Cao hit back with three consecutive frames to move one from victory at 3-2. Higgins dug deep and forced a decider with a contribution of 70 and a break of 55 in the final frame saw him over the line a 4-3 victor. He plays Welshman Jamie Jones in the last 32.
The win moves Higgins to £12,000 on the live one-year list. However, that still leaves him some way short of the top 32, where he needs to be a the end of the English Open to qualify for the World Grand Prix. Despite being thrilled at today’s result, Higgins wasn’t happy with his performance.
Higgins said: “I’m delighted I won, but I don’t know how I won. I don’t normally complain, but I put a new tip on and I was all over the place. I’ve left it too big.
“My oldest son was here today. He was giving me the pep talk in the car, it didn’t really do me too much good. I’m only joking, it was good to have a bit of company.”
Recently crowned UK Champion Mark Allen booked his progression thanks to a 4-2 victory over former German Masters winner Martin Gould.
Allen is aiming to become only the fifth player to win three successive ranking tournaments, following his UK title and victory at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open. The Antrim cueman top scored with 132 and faces Thepchaiya Un-Nooh in the next round.
Current BetVictor Series leader Kyren Wilson edged through with a 4-3 win over former Masters and UK Champion Matthew Stevens. The player who earns the most prize money over the qualifying BetVictor Series events scoops a bumper £150,000 bonus. Wilson will be hoping to go further and build on his lead. He plays Glaswegian Stephen Maguire in the next round after he defeated Ashley Hugill 4-1.
Sam Craigie sent Scotland’s Fraser Patrick home with a 4-3 defeat, while former Masters winner Yan Bingtao beat Liam Highfield 4-3.
The evening saw the last 32 get underway and Gary Wilson scored a significant first ever win over World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, prevailing by a 4-3 scoreline.
Wilson had come up short in all of his prior meetings with the Rocket, suffering losses at German Masters, World Championship and Shanghai Masters in 2017.
Wallsend’s Wilson crafted breaks of 72 and 82 during the tie, before a match winning 73 in the decider. Next up he faces either Yan Bingtao or Hossein Vafaei for a place in the quarter-finals.
“Of pretty much all of the top players on the tour, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Williams were the only two I haven’t beaten before. I think there’s only Mark left now. It’s nice, you don’t want to keep playing someone and not winning. It is good to tick that one off and get a result,” said 37-year-old Wilson.
“I don’t ever really feel comfortable with my game generally. It is hard to block out when you feel that way. On the very rare occasion I feel confident and good about my game it doesn’t matter who I’m playing.”
Anthony McGill won an all-Scottish clash with Scott Donaldson 4-3 to make the last 16. He now faces 2010 World Champion Neil Robertson, who beat Joe Perry 4-1.