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John Higgins nears historic 167 break at Riyadh Masters with introduction of golden ball

Posted : 05 March 2024

At the inaugural Riyadh Season World Masters of Snooker, John Higgins came tantalizingly close to making history by almost compiling the first-ever 167 break, which would have earned him £395,000.


The introduction of the new golden ball added an intriguing dimension to the event, allowing players who complete a 147 to pursue a record-breaking 167 break. The golden ball, valued at 20 points, remains on the top cushion as long as a player can achieve the maximum break, being removed once the opportunity concludes.


During the second round against Mark Williams, the four-time world champion Higgins showcased his prowess by converting 15 reds and blacks, positioning himself for the historic break.


However, a slight overhit on his approach to the yellow denied him the chance, resulting in a break of 120. Despite this, Higgins secured a 4-2 victory over Williams, setting the stage for a quarter-final clash against English world number one Ronnie O'Sullivan.


The event, featuring the world's top 10 players, including seven-time world champion O'Sullivan, incorporates the unique golden ball rule, adding strategic complexity to the matches. The tournament also includes two local wildcards, with Ali Carter of England securing a 4-3 victory against China's Ding Junhui in a hard-fought first-round match.


The world-ranked ninth and tenth players, Higgins and Ding, respectively, commenced their journey in the preliminary round with convincing whitewash wins over Saudi Arabia's Omar Alajlani and Qatar's Ali Alobaidli.


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