The Masters

Higgins feeling more confident after cue change

FOUR times world champion John Higgins has revealed he is playing with a new cue after ending 2013 ‘in the depths of despair’.

Higgins began the New Year in winning style last night (Sunday) with a 6-2 win over Stuart Bingham which followed a busy Christmas practising with his new cue.

And the change has pleased the 38-year-old who said the cue has made him feel a lot more confident at the table in comparison to recent months which saw Higgins fail to make the quarter-final stage in his last ten ranking events played.

“I played better than I have in recent months,” he said. “Stuart didn’t play well, maybe there was a bit of extra pressure on him as he was the seeded player and expected to win.

“I was in the depths of despair after the UK Championship and I had been in turmoil for a couple of months, so I decided to change cue again. I practised hard with it over Christmas and I feel a lot more confident and positive now. I felt my tempo at the table coming back, and when that happens you can see how to make breaks.”

Bingham, who has been one of the most consistent players on the main tour in the couple of years climbing up to seventh in the world, described his performance as ‘diabolical’ and was frustrated to let some special visitors down on the night.

“My nan was in the crowd and she could have played better than that,” he added.

“I had a lot of friends come to watch me so I’m disappointed. Maybe I was trying too hard. John was giving me chances but I kept making 6 or 8. It was just a very bad day at work and it’s a bit of a shock. If I play like that I don’t deserve to be here.”

Higgins’ will play Mark Selby in the next round after the Leicester star held off a strong fightback from Mark Davis in the tournament’s opening match.

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