Masters 2022 snooker LIVE: John Higgins faces Zhao Xintong before Shaun Murphy plays Barry Hawkins

by 24britishtvJan. 10, 2022, 3 p.m. 16
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Suspect Zhao will need to work for any scoring chances he is going to get out there today. Slams in a stunning long red, but can only add a yellow before another red stays up. Chance gone and Higgins back at the table.

The Scotsman is covering all bases so far today in long potting and tactical play.

A 3-1 advantage for Higgins at the mid-session interval. In command of this contest so far.

This is brilliant from Higgins. Given half a chance by Zhao and he has really pounced on the openings that have come his way. Should be a 3-1 lead at the mid-session interval for the Players champion. In goes the pink and his opponent is 53 behind with 51 points left on the table.

These players last met in the last 32 of the UK Championship last month with Zhao winning 6-5 on his way to claiming the title in UK. Higgins led 5-3 on that occasion.

Higgins utterly dominant in the third frame with Zhao not potting a ball. Fourth frame before the mid-session interval.

Mistake by Zhao in leaving a red over a top pocket. Higgins should get over the line here for a 2-1 lead in the third frame.

More of a tactical frame on the cards which suits Higgins holding a 45-point lead.

The Scotsman first to the punch in the third frame, but can only make 37 before he screws into the pack off the black and winds up on nothing. Just the safety shot coming up. And plays a good one by leaving a red safe with another red in baulk.

A total clearance of 128 from Zhao. He levels the match at 1-1. Two centuries to start the afternoon. This already has the makings of a classic.

Could be a century coming up from the young Chinese player. Some start to this match. Both players right at it.

The great champions can pull out the recovery shots under pressure. Fine pot on a red by Zhao to keep this break going. Right back in business at the business end of the table.

Nice safety shot by Higgins, but Zhao responds with a stunning long red. A great chance for the UK champion to show this Alexandra Palace crowd what he can do with a load of balls and a snooker cue. They're all snooker loopy.

Fabulous stuff from Higgins out there. A break of 100 from last year's finalist in his 28th appearance at the Masters. Looks right in the mood.

This has been classic Higgins. One-visit snooker. Could easily be a century to get this match off and running. An 861st century on the cards.

Cracking long blue by Zhao, but a long red hovering near the hole then fails to drop. Didn't expect him to miss that. And Higgins given an early chance to get his scoring boots on.

Hope you are settling down with a nice cuppa ready for another glorious afternoon of Masters snooker. John Higgins is first up today against the new UK champion Zhao Xintong. Should be an utterly absorbing contest. First to six frames will face Mark Williams on Thursday night in the quarter-finals. Boys back on the baize just after 1pm.

'The best venue in snooker' – Why Williams feels Masters should be ranking event

Mark Williams has hailed Alexandra Palace in London as snooker's greatest arena, but believes the Masters may need to become a ranking event rather than an elite invitational tournament in future years.

Speaking after his 6-4 win over defending champion Yan Bingtao from 3-1 behind in the first round on Sunday, Williams feels the time has come for every player on the World Snooker Tour to have the chance to experience the sport's "best venue".

Williams won his two Masters titles at the old Wembley Conference Centre in 1998 and 2003, but feels the Ally Pally atmosphere can only be rivalled by the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield when the World Championship reaches its final stages.

The Welshman rolled in breaks of 63, 56, 62, 67, 64, 104 and 85 with 21-year-old Yan contributing 64, 71, 57 and 122 in a magnificent start to the 48th Masters.

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