Higgins ends Williams' run

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John Higgins, the defending champion, ended Mark Williams' winning run at the Sweater Shop International Open in Swindon yesterday when he beat the Welshman 5-2 with a superb exhibition of potting in front of a full house at the Link Centre.

Higgins was surprised at how well he had played against an in-form opponent who had become one of the favourites for the tournament after the exit of so many leading players in the opening round. "I didn't think I'd made as many high breaks as I did," the Scot said after a victory that put him into the last 16. "I was really worried coming into the match as Mark is obviously in good form after his victory in Newport. But I settled down nicely and could not be happier."

The match was fairly even until the interval, when Higgins led 3-2, but the Scot then produced his best form to rattle off the next two frames for victory in only 18 minutes.