Hazel Irvine presents highlights from Tuesday afternoon's action at the Â£850,000 UK Championship.
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you hello again from the United
you hello again from the United
Kingdom championship. Cracking match
this evening, I must say. It
features John Higgins, the
42-year-old still in the top ten,
the world number five, facing a
17-year-old who hadn't even been
born when John Higgins won the first
of his first three UK jumping ships.
Yan Bingtao is the new emerging star
and snooker. He has shot up the
rankings from 57 to 26 already and
only ten days ago featured in his
first world ranking final. This
fellow knows no fear. And in fact
the John Higgins a month ago, 6-2,
in the International Championship.
No wonder, then, that John Higgins
ny was in for a match. Let's catch
this best of 11 frames encounter in
the company of Alan McManus and
So, John Higgins gets is underway
against the young Chinese sensation,
Yan Bingtao. Very much a generation
gap. 25 years between the two
players. Yan Bingtao, you wouldn't
know it. He's had a fantastic first
half of the season. He will be right
up for this match today, Steve
Yes. If you haven't seen him
on your TV screens before, you are
in for a treat. Phenomenal player,
at such a young age.
There is a risk when you're doing a
slow shot like that to try to get
the Google on the top cushion. If
you get the double-kiss, and the
table doesn't pull absolutely true,
first blood to John Higgins.
I was in the box a couple of
evenings ago when John Higgins beat
Yan spits Patrick, and to be fair, a
struggle, for John Higgins, that is.
Five or six basic shots he missed,
not cling to his standards. It will
be interesting to see the start that
he gets off to this afternoon.
didn't really leave himself that
nicely on the red, but he has
managed to bring the cue ball into
play for the pink. Just nudged its
way clear from the pack. Ideally, he
would like to get this back on the
spot, but if it doesn't spot...
That's unfortunate. That was a good
shot from John.
The pink does spot,
but unfortunately it's end of break.
It would be a bit of a shot to get
this in behind the black.
Hassey got the one-cushion escape to
the right-hand side of the table or
be forced to play this with a couple
of cushions? The left-hand side is
no good. Not even a red playing that
way. He's got the side.
decides to choose the ball lowest
and closest to our cameras, he wants
to hit it on this side. Mostly
judged. I suppose you could say a
bit unlucky, warbling in the jaws
and then the cue ball sliding up the
table a bit because this is now a
realistic chance of a popped into
the middle for John Higgins. -- a
chance of a pot.
Gorgeous shot. He's
off running now. That is what you
call a proper chance. Wonder how he
cueing, looks like he had struggled.
He had some issues with his tip
which he had changed a couple of
Not that John Higgins ever needs any
motivation to give it 100% but he
will be well aware of Yan Bingtao's
prowess, Corsie lost to him, 6-2, in
the International Championship, so
he will be fired up for this match.
Every time John Higgins plays a
shot, it's always the same
preparation. The same backwards and
forwards movements of the cue. Even
the symbols of shots. And the great
thing about that is, doing it like
that, it's just like you are all O2
pilot. You don't have the worry
about thinking how you cueing. You
have done it so many times before,
and you just keep repeating. -- you
are on autopilot.
May be on very easy shots he gives
it one less further and on very
difficult shots perhaps one more,
but other than that it is the same
pace of cueing all the time. Very
relaxed but very assured.
smooth technique, John Higgins has.
One of the secrets of this game, be
as smooth as you possibly can. John
has got it to an absolute tee. It is
a gradual backswing, but so smooth,
and my spores and delivery, and as
Steve said, always the same. Talking
about the simple shots, he has a
couple of feathers.
And one of the
big mistakes amateur players make is
that final backswing. They swing it
back too quickly. He begins my son
with that backswing, and would have
expected a better result. He's not
over the line yet in this frame, so
hope for Yan Bingtao.
Very good effort trying to get that
cue ball of trouble. It was tough to
control. John Higgins has a stenting
long red into the left corner, but
if he misses it, there was a
counterattack on so this is where
John Higgins has great strength in
his matchplay, deciding when there's
a little bit too much danger
involved in playing a shot, or how
to play the shop. Perhaps this is
one where he would play the screw
back to safety at the same time even
though that makes the pot more
difficult. If he fancies the pot
completely, and he goes for it,
full-blooded. A little bit of screw
back for insurance, not all the way
back to the baulk cushion because
then no value in potting the red.
But leaving his opponent at
distance, if he missed.
Yan Bingtao wouldn't have wanted to
see that black going sane. He was
hoping to break it out, but not to
the side cushion. -- black going
safe. I didn't see the match between
them in the International
Championship, whether it was an open
game that suited the younger player
or whether Yan Bingtao played a
great safety game as well, but it
lends itself well but if Yan Bingtao
can beat John Higgins 6-2 when John
Higgins was on form, then he must be
a great tactical play, too.
bossed it. This is where he has been
strong. This type of shot. He has
been knocking those income of late.
That was a surprise for me, him
missing that. Once again, John is
going to have to go to work
tactically year. -- here.
It was important for that shot to
get the cue ball tied to the cushion
to stop Yan Bingtao being able to
screw back to baulk. It'll be
interesting to if John Higgins is on
top format was a good safety game
together as well. And how Yan
Bingtao can cope with that. You
don't expect the younger players to
have great tactical nous but the
reason why it didn't.
Well, he plays
The interesting thing is,
spending a fair bit of time on it,
nothing wrong with that, the be shot
would be the long red to the corner,
screw back to safety but there's a
red over the top corner so perhaps
he can play the cut red, the more
aggressive pot. Tough shot. Nothing
wrong with going for that. He was
playing catch up, 54 points behind.
He didn't just brush into it. He
considered it well before he played
the shot. John Higgins still needs
another red to more or less
guarantee this frame.
You could say that was a little bit
unlucky. Going in off. You would
think perhaps the green and the
black would have been like
goalkeepers, but he found the gap.
Talking about John scoring. His
highest break in his first two
matches was only 64. Then early
three other breaks of 50, in the 12
frames that he's won. When would you
ever think that about John Higgins?
Then if he had some kind of tip
problems and he has been able to
sort that out, then perhaps you will
see a different John Higgins here
I think that the tables have
been recovered not last evening but
the evening before. And the evidence
of the matches yesterday the
standard has been excellent. I spoke
to Graeme Dott. He enjoyed the
table, though way it was plain. So,
conditions better, you would expect
a better performance.
And what a
performance that was.
Can't do much with this. The sort of
under it that. I thought he was
going to try to play that to get
onto the top cushion but that looks
I think he was trying to
push the reds towards the other reds
on the black cushion. It must have
just run off the pad.
wouldn't have tried the pot at that
pace. Too risky. He has tried
something with the reds, but he
would have hoped for a better
outcome than that. So this is a very
tough and missable pot into the
middle, especially as he's going to
try and play position as well. Very
difficult shot, and he hasn't had
much table time. That's an
interesting thing, Alan. That shows
some maturity, understanding that
playing for position made the pot
more missable, so cut your losses,
get the points, play good safety
shot. Quite impressed with that.
Couldn't agree more. Almost playing
the numbers game. He is 43 behind,
there's still plenty on the table,
should he another chance.
I tell you
what, you don't see that often from
younger players. Because of the
exuberance of youth, you see your
chance and you go for it. You missed
the chance and you lose a frame and
go, I couldn't do anything about
that, but that has kept him in the
game, that shot. Interesting.
thought it was a good choice. It
sends a message the John that,
tactically Yan Bingtao is learning
all the time.
And he has got his
reward. The pink goes safe and he's
got the mess. There's another
decision. Do you play the open red
even though the balls are worse
positions or do you put the opponent
back in? This is worth thinking
about an open to debate, even in the
I think I would put
The pink going to the side
is a massive plus for John Higgins.
In these situations, if you put
yourself in the other guy's shoes,
John Higgins will be standing
thinking, I hope he goes for the
Air again, if he puts them back
in and John Higgins plays a great
safety shot, he is no closer, points
wise, so perhaps he could play for
the black. Get it back on the spot.
The point about is that John Higgins
will be sitting in his chair,
delighted that Yan played the red.
No chance of getting on a red, you
would think, unless he pull
something out of the bag.
have hoped to have been in a better
positional shot, certainly he would
have been hoping to get further down
the table. But, even so, only 29
points behind now so there is only
that pink ball that is safe. That is
a bit of a loose safety shot.
Getting some, not enough right hand
side spin on the cue ball.
have played with check. Been
ambitious enough to try and lift the
ping from the position is in. That
was something he didn't quite spot.
For John Higgins now, the scoreboard
is important. That position looks
nice on the black. That is perfect.
That is a brilliant shot.
as he needs two reds to keep eye on
the black, it was excellent. Not
guaranteed to pot the red along the
cushion, but he's given himself
every chance. Especially from there.
You live and die in this game by the
decisions you make. You are all
capable of playing the shots, but
the decisions are so important. I
think that Yan should have put John
back in when he missed the resonate
the pink. It is gone now obviously
but he will be learning all the
time, obviously, Yan Bingtao.
wasn't the worst decision in the
world, splitting hairs on the
decision. Barring snookers and
accidents, John Higgins will take
the first frame.
John Higgins breaking off in frame
three. He's been put through his
paces so far this afternoon.
We'll see just how well he knows how
to play winning snooker, regardless
of the standard. That was a
brilliant opening opportunist red
that setup that contribution, his
highest break of the tournament so
far, 66, he made.
He made that opening red look a lot
easier than it was. Played for
position at the same time. Didn't
just blast at it. A couple of blues
reds. -- a couple of loose reds.
Nicely judged. I think he's got
enough of an angle that he can
bounce the cue ball to the top
cushion and get back on that red.
Might be going into the reds, here,
though. Not so, the third shot. I
thought for a minute he was setting
up to disturb more. Now he will need
a nice angle on this black to go
into the pack, though. That little
flick on that red creates the angle.
And that second red of the two
together at the back looks inviting.
That should disturb things quite
nicely, to stun into it. Obituary
low on that, I think. Preferred more
of a power stun, there.
felt the shape of it wasn't
conducive to going in with power,
with the deep screw, but he's got
one, a tough little red to middle,
but should it go in, and it has,
John Higgins slowly but surely
finding his way into a bit of form.
Just sizing up the situation. Is it
worth playing for a choice of pink
and black office red? -- off this
red. Not sure what he's doing.
Whether he is deciding to play on to
the blue to split the pack up rather
than the black because he doesn't
like the shape of the pack. The
pink, as well, but why he kept
looking at that red to the middle
pocket, I don't know. Maybe he
wasn't looking at the red, he was
looking at the pink. Never really
liked this type of shot but
sometimes you have to play it. Not
always easy to guarantee, are they
going to split? Now what?
That was a
brilliant shot, actually.
that pink doesn't spot, but it may
be covered, it will go close to it,
can he still get the red in the
The referee will try to make sure
this is perfect, as close as
possible to soon spot, in a direct
line to line the spot, but not
touching the cue ball, as close as
possible to it. It is very classy of
John just go back to his chair and
have a set of water, wherever
Tatiana replaces the pink, he will
still get it. Tatiana, there, doing
a very good job.
All she is doing a fantastic job in
refereeing this and looking after
two children and Ben Woollaston as
well. The ups and downs of the
That was another brilliant shot. He
is unlucky if he is not on one.
I think I am correct in saying that
then 's wife, Tatiana, she cannot
referee Ben 's matches but I do not
think she can referee matches that
he has an interesting as well. She
has to be seen to be correct, of
course nothing would be untoward
but... There must be absolutely
correct decisions by W the BSA. That
was tight and she got it. -- he got
it. This black is not guaranteed. He
is a little bit out of position so
the biggest shot of this frame so
far for John Higgins.
He would not want to take his foot
off the pedal here.
Well, after a tough start this is
starting to look like a John Higgins
masterclass here today.
Perhaps it needed a match of this
quality for John to focus properly,
or it could be the fact that he has
had two problems. One of the two. --
We're getting the full
gambit of John 's abilities. He is
tough to out. He has spotted some
very clever shots, like that red
into the top pocket that set up the
frame-winning chance in frame two.
Higgins is just building up of
It is that ability to just slip into
scoring mode, even though it appears
he is not quite on top of his game.
John Higgins 80.
No century but a
classy break of 80 and John Higgins
is halfway home.
Frame for. Yan
Bingtao to break.
Yan Bingtao is 3-0 down. One of the
old Masters of this game but can he
find his way back in it? Perhaps
John Sutton stall out today, coming
into this match, having lost
recently to Yan Bingtao in China.
Maybe he set his stall out and said
he would give the boy nothing today.
I don't think he played that red on
the far side of the brown, it was a
tough shot but even so a good
outcome stop he is just trying to
contain things. Another excellent
shot from John Higgins there. Yes.
Very rarely does John Higgins
collide with a full colour. He knows
his way around the snooker table.
There doesn't seem to be a lot to
Yan Bingtao can do at the moment
except play containing snooker and
hope for a mistake will stop he
doesn't seem to have lost his
patience, dusty? Is facial
expressions haven't changed.
but the only thing that we both
know, when you are in that sort of
defence and battling mode, it is
difficult to flick the switch and
then be aggressive because you do
not feel aggressive. At some stage
of this map he is going to have to
be. He will have to change things
up. I would be telling him to get
the balls openers early as I
possibly could. Obviously he cannot
do it from a position like this but
at the start of the frame try to get
the balls openers darted up a
It is tough because you
cannot force it. You would just get
picked off. It is a very difficult
He may have left a red to the yellow
Yes, if Yan Bingtao plays
this match and loses 6-0 because
John Higgins totally out place in it
will not change my opinion of Yan
Bingtao. He is a future champion.
This is not a certainty but the fact
that John Higgins has had most of
the table time, you would expect him
to get very, very close. Yes. What
do I know?
That was awkward cueing,
wasn't it, that made it difficult.
You would fancy knocking it in. He
is able to get the middle ball
striking. I think Yan Bingtao should
be opening up the pack and play your
safety and just changing a little.
He will not get anywhere against
John just tapping around. Half an
hour since Yan Bingtao wanted
He did have a chance to
open the balls but is so tough will
stop to criticise that, it is a
tough one, and I understand exactly
what you are saying. If he plays a
shot to open the balls up from 61
overrate whole because you cannot
guarantee how they will go then you
look like a mug!
It is a risk game
but sometimes you just have to say
to be aggressive and not care about
the consequences because tipping and
tapping around he will not get
anywhere with John. Take this on,
cut the middle, cue ball through the
gap. He has played a safety again.
That is a fabulous shot. Now there
is a chance to get a few reds into
He might be able to play the four
collision safety and hit the red
vicar. Since safety doesn't open the
reds as much. He picked out another
red. He hasn't really hit that
particularly well, to be quite
honest. The balls to open very
easily on these thin cloth is, so
you don't always have to whack them
hard, they start to open up pretty
easily. Can you imagine balls on a
little bit of the carpet, they
wouldn't spread apart like they were
on a piece of ice.
John is also
playing a trace a check on this
behind the yellow. It didn't quite
get the line. Not bad.
As lines go,
it is not bad. I am not too sure
that Yan Bingtao has a way back to
baulk now. I cannot see one.
Unless he can play extra thin on the
red to the right of the table but I
do not think that is on, to be quite
honest? Is there any shot he can
There is the bottom left.
might be able to see that. Only he
will be able to see exactly what
parts of the reds he can contact. He
may be able to get this red than
enough. It is for with danger and
there was to red behind the blue to
contend with and if he hits a
diffraction thick. I never thought
about. What a great shot that is.
Obviously, no one understood.
it is a new shot from the practice
room. He has had plenty of time to
practice. What a shot that was. John
is behind the yellow again.
a bit of help, Yan Bingtao, and a
slice of luck, but he has not got
anything out of it because John
Higgins is like a lump of granite
here today. You are bashing your
head against a brick wall. Bingtao
will have his patience tested
An excellent shot. About the best he
could hope for. Perilously close to
the blue and the corner pocket.
Don't tell me he has left the plant.
It is all going wrong if he has left
It looks on. If John Higgins goes
for it I expect him to get it.
could get on black depending on
which way he plays it. He has played
with control. This is brilliant.
What a shot that is.
Well, this is
currently a master surgeon at work.
He is not ideally placed on the reds
but the way he has started to cue
you fancy this red in the middle
pocket. Not much of a pocket to go
for, is there? It never touched the
sides. What a performance so far
this has turned into. You have got
to say he has to be one of the
favourites for the UK championship
this year. A few big names have gone
out. There are a few still in, of
Yes, not absolutely the way he
played it. Still on one. He is going
to put all his eggs in one basket
here. This is in or over, dead
weight. It is a fairly new cloth and
it may help the shot. I fancy him to
get it but it is missable. It should
go in, but no.
John Higgins, 16.
Bingtao sat in that chair for most
of the last couple of frames, has
got at last, at long last, a decent
It is very easy to say that
he has got to make something from
this but when you have been kept off
the table for so long it is tough.
This is a difficult one to judge, to
get the correct weight. You cannot
argue with that. He made sure he did
not leave it short, too short. That
is assuming the black does go fully.
It must do.
It will be a good boost for the
morale now for Yan Bingtao to win
this in a classy way, this frame.
Just to show John Higgins what he is
This is not an absolute,
bona fides chance to win this frame
yet. I do not think any of those
reds will go in the pocket that you
have two manufacture something. He
will not want to play the one to the
right middle, that would be
missable. He is looking for
something more certain. A little
tester, just up the fact he has not
had much table time. He is expecting
to get it nice and straight. Not a
lot to do with the cue ball, just
get the pot and opens up the frame a
This is why you play eight
hours a day or whatever you decide
to play, so that when you do get a
chance when you have been kept off
the table you are quickly into your
It is definitely a measured approach
from Yan Bingtao. A simple black and
you would think he would already
know what red he is playing for next
but he is taking his time. His
average shot time is 21 seconds and
that is really pedestrian by modern
Yes, but it is indicative
of what he has had to put up with
today. I do not think this is his
natural speed. It floated pass
there, does the other red go? It is
OK if it does. That is OK. If he was
the one that was dominating
proceedings you would see a much
That one red at the bottom of the
pack goes, although you cannot get
the right side of it. Maybe another
red goes. The pink is available and
Yes, the pink goes on
the green spot now so that is frame
-- fine. A good frame-winning chance
now. It is not necessarily a bad
thing, the pacing is played today,
it is almost another string to his
bow, isn't it?
Exactly. You wouldn't
always want to be playing at 30
seconds a shot. That is tough to get
the rhythm with but he has been up
against and it is impossible for him
to have had any rhythm in this match
so it is understandable that he shot
time would be slow. Most of the
shots he has had to play with and
scratches. He does not want to be
straight on this. It is not good if
it is straight. He has got enough of
an angle. He just has to judge the
pace of this because if he goes too
far he will not be on the red. Not
far enough and it is too fine a cut.
That is very nice indeed. He is
going to disturb other reds now. The
good split of those reds and
guaranteed position on the black,
pace wise, and he could be over the
I think the other thing it tells us
is that the way he is taking his
time this afternoon, especially in
this contribution, is he thinks he
can still win the match and that is
important. It is not like he is
almost... Some players could be
forgiven for mentally almost giving
up. I would just throw my cue at a
few shots and hope something happens
but it has all been measured and in
a good way.
He is still in line for being the
youngest ever winner of a major
event, up until the German Masters
next year. But, to be quite honest,
that would just be a small record, I
think, when the history books
finally close on this game of
snooker, if they ever do get closed.
I think you will see the Yan Bingtao
name cropping up a few times.
how can you win the World Cup at 15?
He did that with his compatriot.
That was a couple of years ago.
John Higgins may decide
to come back to the table here.
Bingtao poo Mac last positional shot
was perhaps a bit risky. -- Bingtao
's last positional shot. It is a
tough ask but not much different to
that first frame with Yan Bingtao
carrying on. He will want to keep
the last red on the table. That
keeps open the option of three
balls. It is a quicker way to get
penalty points. So, no positional
shot played. Can he get in behind
this black? Should you so choose? He
misjudged that by miles. A poor
effort, really, from John Higgins.
Yan Bingtao gets a
frame on the board but John Higgins
goes into that interval leading
three frames to one. John Higgins,
to get us under way will stop the
second session. He will be quite
satisfied that interval 3-1 in
front. He got himself a foothold in
Now, there is a big mistake. I just
had a feeling that John was not
comfortable playing that. He is
worried about the new tip on the
Nicely judged positional shot from
Bingtao to get through a bit of a
gap with is cute. The red into the
centre. -- the gap with his cue.
Nothing, it would appear, goes into
the right corner, apart from the
Plenty of roads in the open here. A
good chance to make a sizeable
Yes, he didn't get where he intends
the reds on the left hand side
there. He doesn't want to put the
pink out of cushion by taking it
He doesn't have to start getting to
integrate. He can pop this rating
comeback for the blue. He can wait
for a better opportunity to get on
the black. That will do well to get
the right side of the blue. Just
about, I think. He can just pull it
back, should he so wished, for the
run-in to the right corner. He may
have a fraction of an angle to run
through. He might as well try and
get a little bit closer, perhaps.
The roads are obviously into the
left corner as well. Plenty of
options. He just has to keep
concentration. He must not let one
positional shot go adrift.
Nystad have these two reds into the
middle pocket. -- nice to have
these. It is helping him out no end,
in keeping in good position in this
break. He can try and screw back...
Awful kick. He was putting a bit of
right-hand side spin on that and it
twisted the black to the left and
twisted the white to the right. The
cue ball ended up nowhere.
Yan Bingtao straight back onto the
table. Bad timing for the ice bucket
to come back on to the table. Just
out of your picture one of the
officials delivering a fresh ice
bucket to John Higgins. It was
nearly in Bingtao's I line. --
Well, perhaps justice is
A pretty ramrod straight delivery of
the cue, which is always nice to
see. Not every player goes through
on a straight line. You would think
it would be essential but it's the
only at the point of hitting the cue
ball that that cue needs to be in a
straight line with the desired line
of the cue ball towards the object
ball. But common sense says it would
be better if it was in line all the
time from the end of the backswing
all the way through to the delivery.
Excellent effort there to keep on
the right side of the blue. As she
got their? -- has he got there.
Don't think he's got any angle. He
is poker straight on it. It will be
well within his competence, but he
won't want to play it unless he
absolutely has to do. Just a case of
how much he fancies the
long-distance red. This is a little
A little unfortunate there, not been
on anything. Is the plant possible?
Fabulous shot. Well played. That is
a bonus, landing on the black. Pot
this black in and he'll be back to
just one frame behind, Yan Bingtao.
He's on the red. Not as nicely as
she would've liked. He just needs
this red. The plant, as well. A bit
lucky, the way all of the other
plants have panned out for him. The
pink wasn't absolutely wonderful. So
from being completely outplayed and
getting the lifeline in that fourth
frame, all of sudden, Yan Bingtao
gets it back to only one behind.
Interesting times in this match.
Another massive kick. What's going
on? From having none to having a
few. It has been the general
consensus that a new brand of chalk
on the market reduces the amount of
kicks that players get in matches,
and handing towel doesn't use that
particular brand. -- Yan Bingtao.
Doesn't matter about the pink. 81
the break. Yan Bingtao hot on the
heels of John Higgins, brings the
score to 3-2.
John Higgins breaks off. And it
effectively is the best of five.
Not the easiest of safety shots to
the baulk end.
What has Bingtao spotted via? Very
aggressive. Monster shot. Monster.
Glover shot, an element of safety in
the shot. Not totally safe but what
a positive shot that is. Terrible
He's not now on the road that he
wanted to play, the one in open play
to the right of the table. -- he's
not on the red. It now has an
unmissable red into the corner. He
can't get the cue ball too far away
into the middle of the table. He
doesn't want to cheat the pocket too
much. That could be enough. Normal
service has been resumed. This would
be some scalp, if he wins here. Just
the style of it, not just the win,
we know that capable of winning. All
of these players, on Thursday, R. I
think I'm right in saying that
Bingtao has made the most progress
up the ranking list in recent
months. Huge jumps up the ladder.
Not the best shot, there. Too close
to the cushion. And because of that
a bit too straight on the black. So
a good shot required here to keep
this break going. He's got a bit of
an angle. He's going to put a bit of
power into this.
Didn't hit it as
well as he was hoping. A good, so
the pot, it is probably a bit
thinner than it looks on our
screens. He will do well to get on a
colour if he pops this. This is a
toughie. Difficult to get on a
colour. He was never going to get
south of the pack as far as a black
goes. So end of break.
It was the
red, previously, that was the
problem. Equals the previous lack of
position that then was magnified by
the next one. So, cut your losses.
Not enough of a lead to bother about
trying to put the black safe. Could
need another bite of the cherry to
get over the line. John Higgins has
been there, done it all. But
interesting to be able to see into
his mind to see how he's feeling
currently, compared to how he was
feeling at 3-0 up. One thing he does
do, he enjoys competing, doesn't he?
He'll love the challenge.
Yan Bingtao has given him a real
challenge today. He has been tested
in every department, John.
Now, that could be a massive error.
That one, he seemed to play a bit
casually. He probably didn't. He
just seemed like he did.
The red actually moved, there, 1p
Yeah, played a
combination shot, didn't he? -- when
he potted it.
Nicely judged. Didn't go in to them
too hard but he knew that they would
open up nicely. It's a nice feeling
when you play that little cannon and
they spread over like they have. It
doesn't guarantee anything but it
makes the next 30 points as
straightforward as they can ever be.
It just gives you a nice little warm
feeling inside. When it works out as
intended. He needs a few good things
to happen right now, John Higgins.
To re-establish some authority in
He could conceivably get over the
winning post without needing that
red on the side cushion. Not
necessarily sure that he will have
done those maths. The job in hand.
He has to be precise with this
black. Isn't the end of the world as
But that was as easy way
as any of on those reds. -- getting
on those reds.
It is a good point about the red on
the right side cushion.
He can get
away with one more extra on the
Six reds, six blacks, would
put him 58 points and fun. Two pinks
and three blacks. Well, four blacks,
and he wouldn't need that red.
something that you should do the
maths for, but sometimes there's so
much work to be done you're just
sometimes concentrating on keeping
position. Where these bores you
would sometimes be going for blacks,
but if you take too many pinks it
would be a minor mistake.
Ashley would be thinking about it.
The future of the game, players
should be aware exactly if they need
that ball on the cushion or not.
have the luxury of being able to sit
here pointing it out, and we don't
have too pot anything. That's a nice
little short! I don't know if he's
checked the scoreboard. He's having
a look at it now. It will be, not
maybe in the forefront of his mind,
for blacks would put him 36 in front
before the last, difficult red.
you look at the scoreboard now, now,
has he done the maths?
Is it the maths, or is it the math?
My American? I think the singular is
the posh way of saying it!
a Scottish way?
Probably. That is a
good shot as well. So, a few blacks.
Think he can screw back to the side
cushion with this. It's dead
straight. Doing its job of keeping
the black -- keeping on the black.
The best way of playing for this red
is to the corner, he doesn't want to
play for it in the middle. That's
clever, a very clever shot. An
indication again, all the shot
selection being the most important
thing. The way he played that he
didn't have to play the shot
perfectly, just get topside of the
red. And now that should be a
formality. He has taken them well.
After potting this black he's
looking to get the double as well,
just to put the tin lid on this
Barring slickers, that is John
Higgins back with his nose in front
at 4-3. -- barring snookers.
After a rerack he has a similar red
to the one here before but the white
is not right on the baulk cushion.
He hit it thick last time.
to take the bull by the horns here
and be aggressive.
This is a tough
shot. Bingtao has got to cut the red
ink, screw back and keep on the
black in the same pocket but in
putting all the effort into the
shot, they are missable and he would
present a John Higgins with a golden
opportunity. He has turned down a
shot that a few players would have
gone for. Plenty of players in the
game just would have automatically
got down and played that.
surprised. Any time I've seen him in
the past, he certainly would have
played it. It is a shot at nothing
that he's left John with, as well.
How's the split? This is good.
Things just beginning to happen now.
A big target, that. The pink half
John Higgins smelling blood, here.
He realises the significance of Yan
Bingtao's shot not being punchy
John will want to play for the red
on the cushion may as a last resort.
This was the shot that Yan Bingtao
played. He turned down a pot into
the left corner for the safety shot.
And John Higgins got in from that
John Higgins 37.
Yan Bingtao bashes the table with
his cue, which is the modern day
sign of an appreciative shot of your
opponent. He has left the road into
the middle. -- red into the middle.
Can he get past the black to the red
into the corner? It doesn't look
I think you would expect him to get
this. Wow, I thought that was going
in. Just a fraction too hard. I
still thought it was going in
though, didn't you, Aaron?
tell by Jon 's reaction as well, he
thought it was in. A puff of the
This is thin but I am sure he will
get it. That is why they have
experts in the commentary box!
smile from John. He has managed to
somehow cover this road with the
Bingtao was trying to pay a better
positional shot than just potting
the red. A bit more pace it would
have been an ideal pace to pop the
red. Not easy to get a telling
safety shot here.
That got a bit close to the pocket,
didn't it? Yan Bingtao taps the
table but it was not that far off
being a mistake. Now it has caused a
few problems. Yes. If he is going to
play the up safety he will have to
get this very thin. He will drop the
cushion first on the left-hand red,
which he is doing.
Used only to give
these respects. With the baulk
colours as they are, it is not easy
to get telling snookers.
here that the loose red left of the
pink spot, slide off it, cue ball
near the yellow pocket and Yang will
be in trouble. I think John will
find himself maybe not in masses of
travel but maybe he has given up the
initiative. There was thought behind
it. 37 points in front and tire
those three roads.
He doesn't make
many tactical mistakes, does he?
There was one here that I think Yan
can play and leave John that one to
the left of centre, is close to the
ball cushion as you can. He is
shifting that red. John 's long game
has not been on it. He has not been
on song today. I would have left him
attempt there. A possible plant to
The thing about this
situation now is there is a way of
getting down the table and getting
good snooker. Not easy but from this
side of the
table that plant was a bit more on
than you would have thought from the
distance. Red struggled in but it is
definitely John Higgins with the
He is playing in behind
the brown here, I feel. It takes out
the rest of the left-hand cushion.
He is in trouble.
Bingtao will be seeing if he has any
kind of route to the three reds on
the top cushion. He is looking at
possibly three-cushion escape. I
think he is going to have to try to
get close to the green after two
I don't think that shot is
on. Too much slide on the cloth. I
think he could probably try this all
day long and not get it. I think you
should know from what he has just
done, unless you get stupidly close
to the green he will not be able to
get out of it. Will slide too much.
I might be wrong. He can get that
close to it, that is close enough to
the green. Put the greenback,
I don't think he can escape off
three cushions there. Really,
without being disrespectful, he must
know this now. We have had ago and
he must've seen have all released on
the third cushion.
I was just about
to say that. It is important that
they get the green exactly where it
was because it obviously plays an
integral pot of the shot.
He might just have made it.
He is having a little chuckle to
sell. That is the best he could have
done to get across the table. That
is the absolute limit.
Every credit to him to having
another go at it. He is perilously
close to the green. He might escape.
John will be making sure he doesn't
push this brown, I'm sure.
making the red safe, isn't?
no way John wants to get involved at
any time with having safety shot
Goneva brown. Once again Bingtao is
in enough trouble that it seems he's
going off the side cushion for the
three roads. I don't know what he
was doing there for a moment.
Another shot is available. What was
he lining up there?
I think he was
just in between the top jaw in the
middle and the brown. He was looking
at the drop on the three roads --
reds and he obviously didn't fancy
it. Yes, John playing this wreck
near the baulk line. It is not a
double-kiss but he doesn't really
want to shift it unless he has two.
He doesn't have to do anything
special here. He can just jump onto
the three reds. It is Yan Bingtao
who has to jump onto the aggressive
The double-kiss is not on.
It would only be a double-kiss of
this was a straight ball to the
corner and the cue ball will win the
Nicely judged, although
Bingtao can improve the situation
with a thin contact on the first
red. Is there a gap between green
and blue that he can get the black
interplay? There might be. It might
be risky where the red goes. I think
he can get the black out here.
He needed to play an aggressive one
and he has done. You have to say he
asked the best possible question of
John Higgins under the circumstances
will is not John has got a
relatively easy path back to baulk,
but at least it has opened the reds
up and opened colours up.
There will not be many times in his
career he will be tapping the table
as many as he has done against John
Higgins here today. Great judgment
of weight there as well. It has
caused as much problems as the line.
A last resort shot. Once again the
side cushion and leave that one in
the jaws, that is a last resort. He
is coming down to see what kind of
shots John Higgins has got from the
jaws of that corner. I am not sure
he has too many other options. A big
shots to try and potted.
taking this on, I think. Yes, that
was so difficult. He has not left an
absolute sitter. John Higgins, you
would expect to take full advantage.
Well, he obviously believes in his
own ability. He could've played a
containing shots there. I think
probably the scoreline in the frame,
and knowing how clever John Higgins
is, perhaps he thought that was as
good as a chance as he would ever
get. It was not much of a chance.
John Higgins sticks that red in the
heart of the pocket. It was the
first frame really that has gone
against the grain. Yan Bingtao was
in first and he couldn't
successfully negotiate the
positional side of the frame and
John Higgins got back in and now it
looks like John Higgins has smelt a
bit of blood. He never balks at the
finishing line, that is for certain.
Yes, he has checked the school
board. Three of those reds. With
colours and then he should be one
away from victory.
He would still like this red into
completely seal the frame.
Striking the ball very nicely. He
never overhits a shot, John Higgins.
He knows when to stroke the shots
and went to punch it in. The
complete all-rounder. Apart from
those shots, obviously! That is John
Higgins 5-3 in front and needing one
more for a place in the last 16.
Well, if that red to the right
corner is dead straight, he could
play it as a shot to nothing. For
the black. The only Reggie would
leave on would be the one he missed,
other than the red into the middle
pocket that would possibly popped
but he has potential with this one
as well. There was the potential. He
was never going to be rolling it in
dead weight, that was too risky. Not
far of getting the snooker. He
didn't even look into that red in
the far corner perhaps wasn't
Never really going to be able to put
his opponent in too much trouble
from that shot. Yan Bingtao should
be able to find a path back to ball.
Actually it has been a feature of
this match and, to be honest, a
feature of the modern game, players
are loath to play the safety of the
pack and push the reds out
potentially over the corner and then
be sitting out for the rest of the
frame. I have seen it more. This
looks good. Not quite in behind the
brown suit John Higgins perhaps hear
about to gain the upper hand again.
Yes, he cannot play the full cushion
safety because of the red in between
yellow and pink in the way. He can
play the two question. Inside it
just behind the brown. Down to the
full cushion. Line it up. On the
yellow. Cut off the escapes down the
right-hand side of the table. I
sound like an know what I'm talking
That was a brilliant
shot. I do not know if you will see
any return to the baulk area, I
suppose he could drop dead weight
into the cluster of the reds but
that has risk attached to it.
another half ball one, red into the
pack behind the black? If he can see
enough of the right hand side of the
second raid on the left of the
table, if that makes sense.
think you can.
I cannot see many
other shots at the moment.
That is a
good spot. You wouldn't like playing
it unless he can hit the red on the
thin side are not push too many open
reds out of the cluster, but what
else has he got?
I think he has to
try and play the shot and trying get
in behind the black. A thin half
ball. Not too thick, as you say. He
has just looked at it there. He is
going through the same thought
process as we have gone through.
Yes, there you go, that is the shot
he is going to play. We think.
Unless he is seeing something else.
Can he play the one nearer the blue?
He could play the same shot. He is
not going to take the pot on? To the
Far enough out with the red that you
didn't get the cue ball tracking
right. As he left anything? Masses.
Why he has left is not John 's
favourite shot, especially pasta
plate slowly and hope for a black.
You will probably come around for a
choice of the pink or the blue and
that makes the pot a fraction
easier. He has dribbled it.
easy as it looked on the TV, that
Frame and match-winning opportunity
here. The balls do not look that
much out in the open, but there are
enough loose reds around better
player of the likes of John Higgins
will be able to orchestrate a
chance. Straight on this black. It
would have been a lot easier had he
not been. A tremendous amount of
side spin on that. Has gone too far?
Has he overheated? He did overheated
a bit, but has he overheated too
Yes, he is just about all
right. The red in baulk helps him as
well. The next couple of shots he is
playing for the blue. Holding
flipping, though. This is a decent
position. Slowly but surely pushing
other reds into possible positions.
He might be a bit low on this red.
You should be able to slide off
other reds. It is hard to see from
the commentary box. He has to go
into something here. Very nicely
judged stop easy to have played that
soft and not got such a good split
but he had the experience to know he
had to punch that one in.
checking to see if he can play for
two reds on this. Just helped him to
get the cue ball high enough to be
perfect on the next red. This is
Well, it has
been a fascinating match to
commentate on and should John
Higgins convert this chance, an
excellent match for John Higgins to
establish his mark in this
tournament and stake a claim on
possibly being the champion. He has
won it three times before, I think.
Who is to say he will not win it
again? He still has to mind his work
here though. A good chance to go
into the pack. He should not lose
the cue ball. He can go in with a
bit of pace. That was an outside
red. Apologies. I didn't think that
went. It flies in. He could have
gone into the reds there but it was
He is just looking for
something more certain, isn't it?
It is actually a clever shot he has
played. It is virtually guaranteed.
If that red next to the pink went
and I would sort of agree with not
going into the reds. It is a bit
more difficult like this but such a
good player, John Higgins he may be
gambling by getting an unlucky split
I suppose. He would not have played
into them. There is a scoreboard
check, 55 and potentially another
six would be 61. He is still going
to need the red and the high value
colour from the cluster.
One good positional shot. Yellow. A
big area. Let us get that one right
at least. That is right, blue.
would have played for the yellow.
Nothing wrong with the cue ball.
That is why we are really here. He
could have played this earlier. God
knows why he is playing it now.
is effectively to win the match. A
good split and is over.
That red, 62, the black to follow.
The match ball is coming up.
He has had to fight hard all day
long. 3-0 in front pegs back to 3-3
but using of is experience. Just to
confirm the victory. Not been
vintage John Higgins but it has been
It has been good enough
and Yan Bingtao has not been found
too much wanting either. John
Higgins has been the stronger but
Yan Bingtao has impressed greatly
today. 70 points in front and he has
not given up but he is on the brink
of giving up now. A fantastic
victory for John Higgins. He is
through to the next round where he
meets Mark King.
From 3-0 down to
3-3, Yan Bingtao made a matchup that
but it was John 's experience, he
saw the finishing line and he was
able to stride over it in the end
and he goes through to play Mark
King on Wednesday afternoon. I hope
you have enjoyed that. It whetted
our appetite for more and I am sure
you will join us at 1pm this
afternoon for more of the same.
Hazel Irvine presents highlights from Tuesday afternoon's action at the Â£850,000 UK Championship.