Snooker: Higgins beaten by rank outsider

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The Independent Online
STUART BINGHAM pulled off a remarkable 5-4 win over the world champion and world No 1, John Higgins, in the Welsh Open yesterday. The 22-year-old from Essex is the lowest-ranked professional left in the pounds 370,000 tournament at the Cardiff International Arena - but he more than made up for the discrepancy in the rankings and his lack of experience to reach the quarter-finals.

"I can't really believe it, but I enjoy proving people wrong," the 1996 world amateur champion said. "You never know how far I can go." Bingham, a first-round winner over Tony Drago and a re-spotted black ball winner against Gerard Greene in the second round, added: "I started off like a house on fire but when John started to come back at me I got a bit worried.

"I've lost matches before when I shouldn't have done so I was delighted when he finally shook my hand."

Bingham, the world No 164, quickly built up a 3-0 lead but Higgins showed his mettle by drawing level at 3-3.

Bingham won frame seven with a run of 43 but easily lost the eighth. In the decider, by the time they reached the colours, Higgins needed snookers. "I had a wee chance to win the decider but missed a terrible black," Higgins said. "But all credit to Stuart, he played well."

Higgins' defeat was not quite as surprising as Stephen Hendry's 9-0 demise in the UK Championship last November. The Scot is slowly recovering from that humiliation by Marcus Campbell - his 5-4 victory yesterday over Matthew Stevens of Wales will fill him with confidence, recovering as he did from 4-3 down.

Steve Davis, at 41 the oldest competitor left in the field, beat Fergal O'Brien 5-0, while Thailand's James Wattana reached his first ranking tournament quarter-final for over two years by beating Northern Ireland's Patrick Wallace 5-2. Ronnie O'Sullivan ran in a 143 break as he came from behind to beat Canada's Alain Robidoux 5-4.