SNOOKER: Hendry eyeing title after ousting Higgins
SHEFFIELD (United Kingdom): Stephen Hendry believes he can be king of the world once more after completing a 13-4 rout of defending champion John Higgins at the Crucible on Saturday.
Hendry, who won the last of his seven world titles way back in 1999, had no difficulty in clinching the solitary frame required to oust Higgins after racing into a 12-4 lead on Friday in the best-of-25 clash.
It capped a remarkable transformation in fortunes for Hendry, who had come close to retiring from snooker 12 months ago after suffering a humiliating 13-4 defeat to Mark Selby in the second round in Sheffield.
Although Hendry faces a tricky test in the quarter-finals against fellow Scot Stephen Maguire, the 43-year-old insists there is no reason why he can't go on to claim an eighth world crown.
"I don't feel like the oldest player in the tournament. I don't feel like that at all," said Hendry, who lit up the Crucible earlier this week with a maximum 147 break.
"Perhaps it's because I haven't been playing so much competitive snooker, I keep getting beaten in the first round. Perhaps I'm the freshest player out there," Hendry added.
"If someone said I would beat John Higgins 13-4 I would say they were nuts."
The Scot is also thriving on the pressurised atmosphere of snooker's most demanding event.
"I love it, there's no better place to play snooker," Hendry said. "To make a maximum here this week and to be in the quarters, one match away from again playing in the one-table situation, is amazing."
Meanwhile Higgins was left to rue a defeat which he blamed on a calamitous session on Friday which Hendry won 7-1.
"It broke my heart to come back here today 12-4 down," Higgins said. "This place can do that to you. I have seen it, it can give you your best moments but also your worst nightmares."
Wales' Ryan Day, who lost quarter-finals in 2008 and 2009, saw off China's Cao Yupeng 13-7 and will face either compatriot Welshman Matthew Stevens or England's Barry Hawkins in the quarter-finals. AFP