Royal London Watches Grand Prix 2008: Higgins wins all-Scottish contest to move into quarter-finals

Wednesday afternoon as Scottish legends Stephen Hendry and John Higgins meet in Glasgow. Click below to read what is going on in both matches…

John Higgins 5-2 Stephen Hendry

Three times Grand Prix winner came past Stephen Hendry today to move into his second quarter-final with a comfortable 5-2 win.

With both not having made great starts to the season, it was going to be interesting to see who would take control of the match early on. The first two frames could have gone either way, both looked to be in reasonable shape as they shared them to be 1-1. From this point although John was playing some very slack safety shots, seemingly over-hitting many of them, Stephen was missing all but the simplest of pots and applied no pressure at all. Higgins took frame three before he picked up a little to make a century before the interval.

Frame five was to be no different as again despite having a great chance to pull it back to 3-2, Hendry soon missed a straight forward red and it was 4-1. He then briefly rallied with a century break of 104, the 719th of his career, but it was to be in vain as Higgins wrapped things up in frame seven.

Higgins will be delighted to be in another quarter-final, though he will know that he has to improve whoever he faces in the next round. He did at least look better as the match went on so perhaps he will play his way into some form.

For Hendry though it was much of the same as his obvious lack of confidence in the arena was all too apparent. I’ve noticed one thing about Hendry recently, he seems to start matches well, making a decent break but as soon as he misses a couple of balls, he rapidly goes downhill and that’s where his lack of confidence is shown. Higgins said after the match that he had been practising with Hendry recently and he is actually cueing really well, but in the matches he just isn’t showing it.

By winning his match against Dave Gilbert he at least got himself a few more ranking points to stabilise his position on the latest provisional list, but formwise something needs to change because unfortunately it is hard to see him beating many players the way he looks right now.

John Higgins 5-2 Stephen Hendry 60(31)-47(42), 7-66(48), 72-3, 127(127)-1, 112(37,75)-14, 17-110(104), 67(66)-0

Ding Junhui 5-2 Michael Holt

Chinese star Ding Junhui played well to end the impressive run of Nottingham’s Michael Holt today, eventually winning it 5-2.

The match was pretty close for the first four frames, both playing quite well and looking capable of victory, Holt especially looked to be in good shape as he made a terrific 105 century break to go into the interval level at 2-2.

From this point though it began to unravel for him as he made several errors that he wasn’t making before and gave Ding the chance to gain some momentum. This he did and in completing the match with an ominous century break of 129, there just some signs that he was beginning to find some form. Will be interesting to see how he performs in the next round.

Michael will be very disappointed that he could not build on what has been a terrific run in this tournament, both at Prestatyn and in Glasgow itself. He really was right in the match at 2-2 but it just didn’t happen for him after that. Hopefully he can bounce back in Bahrain as he looks to secure a place in the top 32 again.

Ding Junhui 5-2 Michael Holt 31-72(60), 80(40,40)-10, 69(56)-25, 1-109(105), 96(69)-4, 65-45, 133(129)-0