Higgins breezes through but O’Sullivan storms the headlines

Snooker: altercation with Ali Carter takes centre stage at Betfred World Championship

John Higgins during day nine of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

John Higgins during day nine of the 2018 Betfred World Championship at The Crucible, Sheffield. Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA Wire

 

Four-time winner John Higgins breezed into the World Championship quarter-finals with a session to spare after seeing off Jack Lisowski in a dominant 13-1 victory at the Crucible.

Higgins, who lost to world number one Mark Selby in the final last year, held an 8-0 overnight lead and Lisowski had to wait until the 11th frame to get on the board, courtesy of an 81 break.

However, Higgins stamped his authority in the next with a century before rattling in a tournament-high 146 clearance in the 13th frame en route to victory.

Meanwhile, Ronnie O’Sullivan has vowed to play until at least the age of 50 and accepts he will never get a break from the snooker spotlight. The 42-year-old landed his fifth Crucible title in 2013, but his wait for a sixth goes on after he was knocked out in the second round of the Betfred World Championship by Ali Carter in a testy match on Saturday. Their powder-keg collision exploded when the players clashed physically and verbally in the 19th frame, O’Sullivan appearing to barge into Carter at one stage and calling him “Mr Angry”.

Retirement threats

It was the latest in a long line of controversies in O’Sullivan’s career which has spanned over 25 years and contained a host of retirement threats. He is not thinking along those lines presently and instead is plotting more chapters in his storied career.

“I’ll keep pitching up, I’ll keep playing, and I’ll probably be here until I’m 50 so get used to me,” he said. He challenged reporters to show a sense of perspective over his altercation with Carter, highlighting its relative insignificance in the context of world news events such as the Syria crisis.

But O’Sullivan knows he remains the sport’s big attraction, and added: “The story’s going to keep going because until I die, you’re going to have to keep writing stuff about that. You can’t say, we’ve had 25 years of Ronnie, can we just push him aside? I’m here to stay.

“I’d rather be like a John Higgins and go under the radar, but it just isn’t possible. I embrace it as much as I can, I try to carry it as well as I can, and that’s all you can do.”

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