Higgins suffers surprise early exit

John Higgins is out of the World Championship.

John Higgins is out of the World Championship.

FOUR-TIMES world champion John Higgins crashed out of this year’s World Championship in the first round after suffering defeat to Mark Davis.

Following on from his 6-3 overnight advantage, Davis stood firm to win 10-6 and secure a place in the second round for just the third time in his 20-year career as a professional.

It is the second time this season Davis has knocked Higgins out of a major event following his 6-5 victory in the last 16 stage of the UK Championship in December.

Higgins though got off to a great start as a break of 92 reduced his deficit to 6-4 but Davis restored his three-frame lead after battling back from Higgins’ initial break of 57.

Higgins came back in frame 12 with a break of 69 but Davis edged closer to a famous win as breaks of 81 and 47 put him in full control at 9-5 in front.

The Scot pulled another frame back to keep alive his slim chances of a comeback but when Higgins was unlucky to knock a red in when splitting the pack off the green at 24-1, Davis held his nerve with an 87 clearance  to clinch a famous win.

The defeat ends another disappointing season for Higgins. Despite winning the Shanghai Masters in September, the Scot went into the World Championship not in the best run of form after suffering early exits in the International Championship, German Masters, Welsh Open and the China Open.

But Davis’ best ever season on the main tour continues after reaching the semi-finals of the Wuxi Classic, Australian Open and UK Championship as well as winning the Six Reds World Championship.

Davis will meet either Premier League champion Stuart Bingham or Crucible debutant Sam Baird in a bid to reach his first ever World Championship quarter-final.

Elsewhere, Crucible debutant Dechawat Poomjaeng made an impressive start by gaining a 5-3 lead over Stephen Maguire at the close of their first session.

Graeme Dott’s match with Peter Ebdon is still to finish. The 2006 world champion led 8-6 before both players were forced to make way so the afternoon session could start as scheduled.

The match is expected to finish tonight with the players coming as soon as a table is available.

And World Open winner Mark Allen will have to come back from behind tonight if he is to make the second round after Mark King had the better of the first nine frames this morning – leading 5-4.

Tonight’s other game sees last year’s runner-up Ali Carter face Leicester’s Ben Woollaston who is playing at the Crucible for the first time.


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