2024 Masters: John Higgins Reflects on Tough 6-5 Loss to Mark Allen

Scottish snooker legend, John Higgins faced off against Mark Allen in what can only be described as a slugfest, reminiscent of a boxing match in the first round of the 2024 MrQ Masters. Unfortunately for Higgins, he found himself on the wrong end of a 6-5 score line, leaving him with mixed emotions after a gruelling battle at the Ally Pally.

Snooker player next to a trophy
Louis Hobbs

Written by: Louis Hobbs

(Senior Sports Writer)

Last updated: 2024-01-11

5 minutes read

A Battle of Champions Unfolds

In a hard-fought encounter at Alexandra Palace, John Higgins and Mark Allen battled for a spot in the Masters quarterfinals. The match proved to be a scrappy affair, with both players facing mid-game challenges. 

 

Initially winning 3-1, Higgins' determination, however, was met with a composed comeback from Mark Allen, the clash evolving into an error-laden affair between two former champions. Eventually, Allen secured a narrow 6-5 victory, earning himself a place in the quarter-finals. Notably, this triumph marked Allen's first win at Alexandra Palace since his tournament victory in 2018.

 

The deciding frame witnessed Allen's poise as he executed a crucial break of 86, sealing the win and progressing to the next round. This hard-earned victory for Allen served as a testament to the unpredictable nature of the match, leaving spectators at Alexandra Palace on the edge of their seats throughout the gripping contest.

Higgins’ Emotional Rollercoaster

After the match, Higgins admitted to feeling a bit "punch-drunk" after the loss. Despite the disappointment, he acknowledged the competitive nature of the tournament, expressing his desire to win but recognising the challenges he faced with some crushing defeats.

 

The mental toll of such cagey games was evident in Higgins' words, as he described the match as a "real battle" and highlighted the energy-draining effects of the back-and-forth encounter. The Ally Pally crowd, known for its passionate and energetic support, played a significant role in creating a dynamic atmosphere that added to the intensity of the game.

 

53456108415_9399e0e1b3_o.jpg

Crucible Conundrum

Higgins, a two-time World Champion, faces a precarious situation in the snooker world. Currently holding the 12th position in the world rankings, the Scottish veteran is standing on the borderline for qualifying directly for the prestigious Crucible event.

 

The stakes are high for Higgins as his current rank places him within the top-16, allowing automatic qualification. However, the seasoned player is acutely aware that his recent performances need improvement to maintain this coveted position. If his form continues to falter in the upcoming ranking events, there's a genuine risk of slipping out of the top-16, subjecting him to the arduous task of going through qualification rounds to secure a spot at the Crucible.

 

Reflecting on his plans and aims for the prestigious event, he remarked, "I'll need to qualify for that. I'm sort on the borderline for qualifying, so could be. I might be having to go to qualifying for it, which I don't want to try and do."

The World Grand Prix Awaits

Addressing the immediate future, Higgins pointed to the upcoming World Grand Prix, a major event kicking off on Monday. He expressed his intention to regroup, stating, "There's a big event [World Grand Prix] kicking off on Monday that I’ll be in. So just try and lick my wounds and then come back. That's all you can do."

The Journey Continues

As the Wizard of Wishaw navigates through the highs and lows of the season, it's evident that Higgins remains resilient and focused on the journey ahead. The loss at the Masters serves as motivation for the Scottish player as he prepares for the upcoming challenges, including the World Grand Prix. Only time will tell how Higgins will bounce back from this setback and continue to leave his mark on the world of snooker.

 

Image credit: World Snooker Tour (WST)

Related Articles

2024 Masters: Ronnie O'Sullivan Secures First-Round Victory in Spectacular Fashion

Snooker

2024 Masters: Ronnie O'Sullivan Secures First-Round Victory in Spectacular Fashion

In a riveting first-round match at the MrQ Masters, Ronnie O'Sullivan secured a 6-3 victory over Ding Junhui, highlighted by Ding's remarkable 147 break. O'Sullivan, though elusive in his post-match interview, expressed satisfaction with the win and reflected on his mindset during the game. The snooker legend also shared insights on the challenges faced by young players, drawing parallels between his early career and the rising Darts star, Luke Littler.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-09

2024 Masters: Ding Junhui Hits Rare 147 but Loses to Ronnie O'Sullivan

Snooker

2024 Masters: Ding Junhui Hits Rare 147 but Loses to Ronnie O'Sullivan

Ding Junhui reflects on his first-round loss to Ronnie O'Sullivan at the MrQ Masters, where despite succumbing to a 6-3 defeat, he captivated audiences with a remarkable 147 break, a highlight of the thrilling encounter.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-09

2024 Masters: Mark Allen Completes Remarkable Comeback to Beat John Higgins

Snooker

2024 Masters: Mark Allen Completes Remarkable Comeback to Beat John Higgins

At the 2024 MrQ Masters, Mark Allen secured a hard-fought victory, prevailing 6-5 over snooker legend John Higgins. The match unfolded with a mix of intense moments and occasional errors, contributing to a gripping atmosphere that held the audience captive. Post-match, Allen shared his thoughts on the competition, expressing gratitude for the challenging encounter and highlighting the fierce competition that makes the Masters a premier event on the snooker calendar.

Louis Hobbs

2024-01-11

Louis Hobbs

Louis Hobbs

Meet Louis Hobbs, our esteemed authority on all matters sports-related. With a wealth of knowledge and experience, Louis effortlessly emerges as our go-to expert. His particular expertise in the realms of darts and snooker sets him apart and brings a level of insight that goes beyond the ordinary. Louis also holds a deep affection for all things related to US sports, with a special emphasis on basketball and American football, which stand out as his particular favorites. His content may not resonate with you, if you don't consider Lamar Jackson the most skilled player in the NFL.

More articles by this author