Snooker: Higgins holds nerve at end

John Higgins kept his nerve to fill another place in the German Open semi-final line-up, but now faces the acid test against the defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan.

World No 2 Higgins defeated Anthony Hamilton 5-4 to join O'Sullivan and world champion Ken Doherty as last-gasp quarter-final winners.

All three of the last-eight matches have now been settled by a deciding frame, leaving Stephen Hendry and John Parrott to try to break the sequence.

Yesterday never more than a frame separated Higgins and his Nottingham rival. The 22-year-old from Wishaw led on three occasions while quarter- final novice Hamilton, the world No 14, made a break of 67 to go 3-2 up.

The underdog later had a couple of chances to win the final frame, but failed to make the most of his opportunity. He missed a pink into the middle pocket early on and then missed a make-or-break long red when 45- 5 behind. Higgins made a decisive 25 and Hamilton shook hands with three reds remaining.

Jim McKenzie, sacked last month as chief executive of the sport's governing body, the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, has issued a writ against the organisation for breach of contract. He has written to WPBSA members denying allegations reported to have been made against him in a letter to the rank and file by the chairman, Rex Williams. McKenzie also made claims about where the WPBSA, and the sport as a whole, are going wrong.

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