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Higgins eager to feed off happy Cardiff memories

John Higgins will do his best to utilise happy memories of playing in Cardiff to aid his bid for success at this week’s Welsh Open. The Scot has triumphed a record five-times in the event down the years, and returns this time as the defending champion.

After a poor run of form in recent weeks, Higgins got a much-needed win on the board in round one on Monday, beating fellow Scot and former world champion Graeme Dott 4-0 with top breaks of 86, 65 and 51.

Aside from reaching the World Championship final last April, where he succumbed in a thriller alongside fellow veteran Mark Williams, it has been a tough spell for Higgins. He admits being back in Cardiff is something he’ll try and use to his advantage this week.

“Coming back to Cardiff I was trying to think of some good memories that I’ve had here, I’ve won it a few times,” said Higgins.

“To win any game for me right now is good, my confidence isn’t at the highest. Graeme struggled a lot with the chances he had, which was great for me.”

Higgins is 15.00 to win a sixth Welsh Open crown and can look forward to facing Welsh veteran Dominic Dale in round two on Wednesday. Dale is 3.60 to win that tussle, with Higgins a strong favourite at 1.29.

Higgins has slipped to 16th on the one-year ranking list and is not yet guaranteed a spot in next month’s Players Championship. He knows that a good week in Wales may make or break his hopes in that regard.

“I’m right on the bubble,” he added. “I felt if I’d have lost [against Dott] then I would have had no chance to qualify for it.”

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