Ronnie O'Sullivan admits falling 6-3 to John Higgins in the Masters quarter-finals was "flattering towards me" and hopes the four-time world champion will win the tournament.
Higgins produced a performance of the highest class to beat the Rocket by three clear frames at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes on Friday. He knocked in three centuries and a break of 88 to keep himself in the hunt for a third Masters crown and will face David Gilbert in the semi-finals.
O'Sullivan admits he was not at his best against Higgins, but credits the 45-year-old for his excellent performance.
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He told Eurosport: "On paper it probably looked good because there were quite a few breaks in there. But whenever you play someone like John or are you are playing as well as he was tonight and you're making unforced errors you're just not going to win.
You need to make the centuries and cut out the unforced errors and I wasn't able to do that tonight.
"6-3 was flattering towards me in many ways because he was the much better player."
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O'Sullivan thinks Higgins has what it takes to win the competition.
"With John he's going to have to play like that for next two matches because you can't have a slight dip in form," he added.
"Some of the players left in the tournament are really hungry so he's got to maintain that if he wants to go on and win it.
I'd love to see him win it to be honest because he's an all-time great and is far too good a player to not be winning tournaments.
"For snooker and John everyone would be happy to see him win it."
‘He was in a trance-like state’ – Foulds waxes lyrical after Higgins brilliance