JOHN Higgins battled back from behind to beat Ali Carter and remained on course to win his third Masters trophy.
The world number three hit back after losing the first two frames to beat last season’s world championship finalist 6-3 at the Alexandra Palace.
Higgins made a break of 59 in the opening frame but was duly punished by the Essex potter after the Scot missed a simple frame ball black and Carter cleared with a break of 64.
Higgins again looked favourite to win the second frame but Carter managed to get the two snookers he needed and potted the deciding black to take a 2-0 lead.
Frame three saw Higgins back to his usual best with a century break of 117 before he drew level prior to the mid-session interval.
This year’s Shanghai Masters winner then took the next two frames after the restart with a top run of 97 to put him in pole position for the quarter finals.
Carter kept his hopes alive winning the seventh frame with an 83 clearance but it was to be Higgins’ day as he won the next two frames to seal a place in the last eight.
The second day of the Masters saw Graeme Dott battle his way to a 6-5 victory over fellow Scot Stephen Maguire in the evening match.
In a topsy-turvy match Dott started the brighter out of the two players as breaks of 61 and 69 gave him a 2-0 advantage early on.
After a slow start, Maguire then raised his game from the third frame and got off the mark in style hitting a brilliant break of 110. The Glaswegian levelled the scores before going ahead for the first time with a break of 65.
Dott responded in his typical gritty fashion winning a tactical sixth frame to level at 3-3 before going back in front with a break of 92 – is highest of the match.
Frustration got the better of Maguire as he prematurely conceded the next frame despite there being enough points left on the table for him to win it. Dot led 5-3 and was just one more frame away from victory.
But the events of the previous frame fired up Maguire as breaks of 56 and 131 kept his hopes alive and took the match to a thrilling deciding frame.
The final frame was a tense affair with both players unable to get a take control of the table. But it was to be Dott’s day when Maguire thought he played a good safety on the final green only to see the white cannon the pink and send it into the corner pocket.
Leading by 26 points with just 25 left, Dott then managed to fluke the green with a cross double shot which prompted Maguire to offer the handshake.
Tuesday sees world number Judd Trump begin his hunt for his first Masters title when he takes on Barry Hawkins and UK championship runner-up Shaun Murphy returns to the baize taking on this season’s Wuxi Classic winner Ricky Walden.