Scottish Professional Championship 2011: Higgins Cruises Past Burnett

Through to face Stephen Hendry in the first semi-final of this week’s Scottish Professional Championship is John Higgins who warmed up for the Crucible with an impressive 5-1 victory against Jamie Burnett this evening…

Match summary by Chris Irving

John Higgins warmed up for the World Championships next week in style with a comfortable 5-1 win over Jamie Burnett at the Lucky Break Snooker Club in Clydebank.

The world number one flew out of the traps and went on the attack from the off, playing some lovely offensive snooker. He took the first frame with an impressive score of 94 as Burnett watched the majority of the frame from his seat but the Lanarkshire man responded well in the second to pull level after battling in what was a tight frame.

However, Burnett made  a few too many mistakes throughout this match and in the third frame and Higgins punished him with some clinical finishing at the right times to restore his lead. He went into the break in control of proceedings with another great offensive display that was simply a joy to watch for all in attendance. Burnett could only watch on as his opponent took control of the table in style, notching up a 79 without reply. After the break, Higgins picked up where he had left off and took control once again with the highest break of the match, an impressive 87 that earned him a century score and he was only one away from a convincing win.

Higgins finished things off with a 48 break after a mistake from Burnett. Burnett was naturally dissapointed afterwards, saying:

“I’m glad it wasn’t five nothing!! I never really settled in the match and my long potting was especially poor. You need to play well against quality players and if you don’t you get punished.”

He blamed himself mostly for the heavy defeat expressing regret at failing to capitalise on the few mistakes made by Higgins.

He added, “I never capitalised on John’s mistakes and you need to take those chances and I never, especially in the early frames. I feel if I had took my chances I could have easily been three frames ahead but as I said my long potting let me down.”

He also expressed his delight at the return of this tournament, saying,

“You want tough matches to prepare you for tournaments and this was perfect preparation for me tonight. It’s great to be playing against the top players so close to the world championships and this will stand me in good stead for next week.”

Higgins was delighted after the match, saying,

“I’m really happy with the win. I knew it was going to be tough but to win 5-1 is great, I’m over the moon. I missed a couple of silly shots but I managed to push on a make some good breaks so that was good.”

He also expressed his excitement at the prospect of facing Hendry next.

He beamed, “Anytime you play Stephen Hendry it is a great occasion so it will be another special match..”

John also claimed that playing this tournament beats practicing at home.

He continued, “This is a very useful exercise for me and it’s better than practicing so it’s good to get a few games in before the World Championship and having never won the Scottish Championships before I would love to win this time around.

Higgins now faces Stephen Hendry in a mouth-watering semi-final between two of the world’s top players and with a packed house expected it will be a great occasion and one both players will relish.