Update on the ongoing Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker

John Higgins narrowly missed making snooker history as he came within seven pots of achieving the first-ever break of 167 during his 4-2 victory over Mark Williams on the inaugural day of the Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker in Saudi Arabia.

This tournament marks a significant milestone in snooker history as the first professional event held in Saudi Arabia. Introducing the innovative Riyadh Season ball, also known as the golden ball, this competition offers a substantial $500,000 bonus to the first player who pots it after completing a maximum 147.

In a thrilling opening frame against Williams, Higgins electrified the audience by potting all 15 reds with blacks. Despite his remarkable performance, a slight misjudgment in positioning on the yellow prevented him from converting an almost-impossible ultra-thin cut to a baulk corner.

The subsequent frames were evenly contested, with Williams missing a crucial red on 32, allowing Higgins to capitalize with a superb 77. Williams responded with a classy 122, keeping his hopes alive. However, Higgins secured the victory with a break of 64, setting up an eagerly anticipated clash with Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Reflecting on his attempt at 167, Higgins, ranked tenth globally, expressed, “It was an incredible feeling; I couldn’t feel my arms or legs. I gave it a good go, but it was disappointing in the end. I’m delighted to win two matches today and get through to play Ronnie. That’s always special, and it will be great to play him here in Saudi.”

Elsewhere, Ali Carter experienced a double delight as he was reunited with his cue and went on to defeat Ding Junhui 4-3 in a dramatic finish, securing a spot in the quarter-finals. Carter, facing the unprecedented challenge of his cue going missing during transit, overcame the adversity and is now set to face World Champion Luca Brecel.

Carter reflected on his tumultuous journey, stating, “It was an unbelievable match to be involved in, great that it was so close and great for me to be the one to get through. When my cue went missing yesterday, the promoter and everyone were doing their best to get it back. I’m really looking forward to the match tomorrow. Luca is coming back to somewhere near his best.”

In the preliminary round, both Higgins and Ding secured comfortable 4-0 victories over local wild cards, further solidifying their positions in the competition.

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