‘I was gone’ – John Higgins admits he is lucky to still be in Crucible mix

John Higgins admitted he is a lucky boy to still be in the World Championship after coming back from severe trouble in his opening round match.

The four times world champion looked to be heading for a shock first round exit when he trailed China’s Tian Pengfei 7-4 in the first round clash.

But Higgins clawed his way back into the contest and went onto win the match without losing another frame – finishing the job with a century break to complete a 10-7 win.

He will next meet three-time world champion Mark Williams or Crucible debutant Sam Craigie in the second round.

But Higgins was just glad to still be in the mix after a rather disappointing showing in which at times he struggled to breath.

“Tian will be kicking himself there, he had more than enough chances,” Higgins told Eurosport.

John Higgins. Picture by Monique Limbos

“When he was 7-4 up I was gone, totally gone. I don’t know how I’ve won 10-7, I really don’t.

“The first feeling was embarrassment because I was missing so many easy shots.

“A couple of my mates text me saying it looked like as if I stopped breathing at times. It’s so true – it is what this theatre does to you sometimes.

Higgins goes into the World Championship having recently produced one of his best performances in years when he won the Players Championship in dominating fashion – losing just four frames in the whole event.

The Wizard of Wishaw is chasing a fifth world title having won it previously in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011.

Meanwhile, Day 3 of the world Championship saw wins for Kyren Wilson and Anthony McGill, beating Gary Wilson and Ricky Walden respectively.

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