John Higgins set a new appearance at the 2022 Snooker Masters, where he beat China's Zhao Xintong 6-2 in the first round for his 28th consecutive appearance in Masters history.
Higgins first appeared on the stage of the prestigious Invitational Masters in 1995, and he has not been absent for 28 years since then. Previously, Steve Davis and Jimmy White had both appeared in the Masters for 27 years, a record shared by the three legends. At this year's Masters, Higgins made 28 appearances to enjoy this impressive record.
Higgins, 46, still sits in sixth place in the world rankings, making it difficult to attend an event where only the top 16 can be invited. Facing Zhao Xintong, the winner of the New Keying Championship who was 22 years younger than himself and played for the first time at Alexander Palace, Higgins opened the game with a single shot of 100, although Zhao Xintong scored a single shot of 128 points to pay tribute to a set but the subsequent schedule fell into the control of the "wizard", and finally Higgins locked the quarterfinals 6-2 with a single shot performance of 100 points, 104 points and 78 points.
After winning the match, Higgins reached the 15th Masters quarterfinals when he played against fellow 753 jacques mac Williams at 3 a.m. Beijing time on Friday. Higgins has been one of the most consistent players this season, reaching four finals but not yet tasting a title.
Higgins won the tournament twice in 1999 and 2006, reaching the final for the fifth time last year but losing 8-10 to Yan Bingtao.
"Zhao Xintong has extraordinary talent, and his batting style can make the game seem incredibly simple." Four-time World Champion Higgins said, "I just tried to make a difficult time for him in the game, he had two mistakes that he wouldn't normally make, which also gave me self-confidence and I played well." The table is very good to play and this arena is top notch for anyone. ”
"The top 16 players in the world are lucky, all the other players will be eager to play here, as a venue compared to the Crucible Theatre – they are different, Crucible has more history, but it is more unique."
"Mark Williams and I have a healthy competitive relationship. Maybe 10 years ago, 15 years ago we were in the top 4 and we fought for the same title every time, and now we've slipped down the rankings, but we can still win the championship. We've been playing on the same field for 30 years and I admire Mark [Williams] and Ronnie O'Sullivan and they still play incredibly high. Playing against him at such an iconic venue, I can't wait for Thursday night (local time). ”
"In terms of records, Ronnie has been promoted to their ranks of Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry. Mark and I are going to be lower. ”
Zhao Xintong said after the game: "John (Higgins) played really well. After the second set broke the hundred, I thought I could win, but then he didn't leave me a lot of chances. I felt a little pressure to focus on each ball, but John played too well. It's a great venue and hopefully I'll be back here next year. ”