Snooker: Higgins makes history with second maximum break

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John Higgins yesterday became the first player to compile a maximum break in successive matches. Higgins, who knocked in a 147 during last month's LG Cup final, made another en route to beating Michael Judge 5-1 in the second round of the British Open in Brighton yesterday.

It earns the world No 4 a £20,000 cash bonus, plus £5,000 for the highest televised break. "I've had quite a few 147s in practice before I came down here," he said. "I never used to play for maximums but just lately they've been going in quite regularly."

The perfect break was the fourth of Higgins' career. He had not even made one in practice until he had become world champion in 1998, and his first in a tournament came at the 2000 Nations Cup. He followed that with another in the Irish Masters. Only Stephen Hendry, with eight, and Ronnie O'Sullivan, with six, have made more maximums. It was the 48th maximum in professional snooker history, the 27th in a world-ranking event and 24th to be made on television.

Steve Davis, who had returned to the elite top 16 after a three-year gap, was beaten 5-3 by Joe Swail. The 46-year-old, who lost 5-4 to Shaun Murphy in last month's LG Cup, again failed to find his form as Swail clinched a place in the last 16.

Swail, twice an Embassy World Championship semi-finalist, dropped out of the top 16 last season. "It's a very good win," he said. "I'm still a bit low in confidence because I've been on a losing run for a couple of years but a few more wins like this should give me a boost."