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Liang: Higgins was too good for me

PUBLISHED: 18:38 13 January 2016 | UPDATED: 18:38 13 January 2016

Liang Wenbo is competing at The Masters (pic: Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Liang Wenbo is competing at The Masters (pic: Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

PA/Press Association Images

Romford-based cueman bows out of Masters

Liang Wenbo admits he simply couldn’t cope with John Higgins’ clinical play after his Masters debut ended in defeat at the first hurdle on Wednesday.

The Chinese cueman, who lives in Romford and practises at Harold Hill’s Grove Academy, produced some high-quality snooker, but was outgunned by Higgins as he lost 6-4 at London’s Alexandra Palace.

The Scot opened up with a 119 break before compiling two other centuries, one of which saw him pot 13 reds and 13 blacks before running out of position and costing himself a chance to make an eighth maximum 147 break of his career.

Liang made breaks of 88, 61 and 53 in response, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to halt the march of the two-time Masters champion who goes on to face world champion Stuart Bingham in the quarter-finals on Friday evening.

And the 28-year-old believes little mistakes ultimately cost him dearly.

“John Higgins played very well – if I gave him the first chance, I always thought he would take it. He scored very heavily,” said Liang.

“I didn’t play badly, but I just lost concentration a little bit at times. I was very relaxed and enjoyed the game.

“But just in the last frame, when I missed the green, the table rolled. It went up when I hit it straight, it was unbelievable.

“As long as the game isn’t finished, you are still concentrating on playing, so I was ready for a decider.”

Liang had qualified for the Masters – which only includes the top 16 players in the world – after a surprise run to the final of the UK Championship at York’s Barbican Centre in December.

The world number 15 ultimately lost that final to world number three Neil Robertson 10-5, but impressed throughout the tournament and deservedly earned himself a place at Alexandra Palace for the first time.

He will now be looking to kick on during a busy second half of the season that concludes with the World Championship – where he reached the quarter-final stage in 2008 – in Sheffield in April.

And Liang is already eyeing up a return to the Masters in 12 months time after relishing his first experience of the event.

“I really enjoyed the game,” he added. “I will try very hard to be back here next year because I enjoyed the tournament. It’s a really good tournament.”

*Eurosport is the Home of Snooker, showing all major ranking events including the Masters, World Championship and the exclusive “Ronnie O’Sullivan Show”.

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