Ronnie O'Sullivan faces a fight to guarantee automatic participation at this year's World Championship. The triple world champion has dropped to 16th in the rankings, and faces a crucial match today at the German Masters against Andrew Higginson which he must win to avoid dropping out of the elite top 16.
But Higginson said: "Ronnie is snooker's 'Special One', he has an aura – whatever his ranking – that other players don't have. But I will take him on with no fear, as I have with other top players."
O'Sullivan must make up a points deficit either at Berlin's Tempodrom this week, or at the Welsh Open in Newport later this month.