Higgins Makes Winning Start To New Term

John Higgins

World champion John Higgins started the new season in winning fashion today (Sunday) when he came from 4-2 down to beat James Wattana 5-4 to take the 110sport.com Euro-Asia Masters Challenge in Hong Kong.

Higgins pocketed £25,000 for his efforts and was delighted to have started the new campaign with a victory. “I didn't start the week too well but I think that was down to the jet lag and all the hassle after losing my passport – but I came good when it mattered,” said the world no.1.

“The standard here was very good and James played really well through the event and again tonight. He probably could have been 4-0 up at one start so he'll be disappointed.

“But being here – taking on high-class opposition in a great event especially ahead of Shanghai - has really made it worthwhile exercise to start the season.”

Wattana, once as high as No.3 in the world but who will start next season outside the top 32, opened up with a break of 74 to claim the first while a run of 40 gave ‘The Thai-phoon' a 2-0 lead.

Wattana got himself back in to contention in the third after an initial 69 from the Scot. But having achieved the snooker he needed, Wattana missed the pink allowing Higgins to take ball and frame to trail 2-1.

However Wattana responded brilliantly, and another knock of 86 saw him re-establish his two frame advantage by the interval.

Higgins roared back on the restart, drilling a 127 after Wattana had got in first, but 48 in the sixth moved Wattana 4-2 up and one from victory.

But Higgins again countered this time with an 80, then drew level after once more Wattana gained the snooker he needed, only this time to miss the yellow.

The ninth and deciding frame was an edgy affair with both players spurning chances. But it was Higgins who held his nerve to take the frame 74-14 and with it the title.

J.Higgins (Sco) 5 J.Wattana (Thai) 4 0-74(74), 13-52(40), 76(69)-60, 0-86(86) 127(127)-9, 37-69(48), 80(80)-15, 74-15