John Higgins faces ‘special’ Ronnie O’Sullivan semi-final as Judd Trump joins Class of ’92 in World Championship line-up
John Higgins is through to face fellow Class of ’92 star Ronnie O’Sullivan in the World Championship semi-final. Higgins won the final two frames of his quarter-final with Jack Lisowski and admitted he would not have begrudged his opponent winning the match after “struggling” throughout. Higgins meets O’Sullivan for the sixth time at the Crucible.
'I was struggling all day' - Higgins 'delighted' after edging out Lisowski
John Higgins completed a star-studded World Championship semi-final on Wednesday night, and he is looking forward to a “special” meeting with fellow Class of ’92 graduate Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible.
Four-time champion Higgins edged out Jack Lisowski 13-12 and will face O’Sullivan in the first session of their best-of-33 semi-final on Thursday evening.
The other semi-final sees Mark Williams, another Class of ’92 star and three-time world champion, take on 2019 winner Judd Trump, who has endured a poor campaign by his own standards but has dazzled in Sheffield so far.
“It’s a great line-up,” Higgins told Eurosport afterwards. “Me, Ronnie and Mark, and Judd’s in there the young gun. Hopefully it will be a treat the next four or five days.
“Going in to play Ronnie, that’s special. I was trying to think about it just then, I’ve played him twice on the one-table setup, so I’m really looking forward to it.
“I hope so [that it will be special]. I’m sure I’m going to play better, I struggled that match with the conditions, I couldn’t get control, but I’m sure in the semi-final the conditions will be perfect. I’ll be in bed all day [before the evening start].”
Watch stunning moment Lisowski concedes as Higgins wins nail-biter
O’Sullivan is chasing a record-equalling seventh world title, and last met Higgins at the Crucible in 2011, with the latter winning their quarter-final 13-11.
Higgins also won their 2007 quarter-final encounter 13-9, while O’Sullivan was victorious in the 2001 final, winning 18-14.
Looking further back, Higgins beat O’Sullivan back in the 1998 semi-final 17-9, while O’Sullivan edged their 1996 encounter 13-12 at the quarter-final stage.
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It had looked as though Higgins would fall short in his bid to book a sixth Crucible meeting with O’Sullivan, but he came good when it mattered against Lisowski.
Higgins led for the majority of the match until three straight frames from Lisowski saw the 30-year-old take a 12-11 lead in the best-of-25.
A timely 105 from Higgins forced the decider, and the Scot sealed it with a break of 72 after Lisowski missed a tight red with just 18 points on the board.
“I don’t know where those two frames came from in the end, I was struggling all day. I was just staying in front, had chances to pull away but I was playing so many loose shots,” Higgins told Eurosport afterwards.
“I’m saying ‘Jack’s going to get me over the line here’, and he would deserve to get me because I had my chances and never took them – and you never deserve to win.
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“The last frame Jack was looking good, I’m thinking in a way ‘just go and do it and put me out of my misery’, because you’ll probably deserve it… it’ll be a good semi between him and Ronnie playing a good brand of snooker. I don’t know if you want an old duffer like me playing again. But when he missed, I had a good break in the last frame.”
Lisowski was on his best run at the Crucible, but was left ruining the quality of the cloth as he tried to focus on the positives of a season where he reached one rankings semi-final and two quarters.
“I don’t know what to think. Extremely disappointed. I’ve pushed John all the way, he played a solid decider. I missed a slightly tricky red, but gave it everything I had,” Lisowski said.
“The table played a bit tricky. The cloth will get redone and it was hard to play on. It was a tough game, tough to make chances, so my game is there but it’s about putting the pieces together.
“I lost in a decider to someone with one of the best records here, but I’m gutted.”