John Higgins says he is relishing the prospect of facing Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open. ‘The Wizard of Whishaw’ has had a strong season, winning the Indian Open and making the semi-finals of the Shanghai Masters, the Scottish Open and The Masters.
Having initially looked a bit off the pace in his opening win over Matthew Selt, Higgins found his form against Steve Maguire and increased his momentum in Thursday’s whitewash of Nigel Bond. The 42-year-old now faces O’Sullivan in the last eight and the old rivals have become familiar foes again this season, already meeting five times. Ronnie has the edge but Higgins got some degree of revenge by beating him 5-0 in the Scottish Open.
It promises to be an entertaining encounter but the Scot says he is feeling confident, despite the five-time world champion’s recent imperious run of form. “I’m a lot happier tonight, I played a lot better,” he told reporters. “It’s a bit like deja vu to be facing Ronnie again, we seem to have played so much this season. “I’m glad I played like that tonight, it will give me confidence because I’ll need to play a similar standard to give him a game.
Ronnie is playing fantastic at the moment, he is at a level above everyone else. “If I can come up near that level I’ve got a chance. These are massive games to play in, I love them and the crowd will be great.” Higgins is 17/10 to win on Friday, with O’Sullivan leading the match betting at 4/9.