Vafaei Takes Down Higgins in Thrilling Upset, Securing Spot in Last 16

Hossein Vafaei

Iran’s Hossein Vafaei scored a stunning 5-1 victory over John Higgins in the Pathum Thani Six Red World Championship in Thailand. It was Vafaei’s first-ever win over the four-time world champion, who had beaten him in their four previous meetings. The win secured Vafaei’s place in the last 16 of the competition, while Higgins’ qualification now hangs in the balance. The Scottish player faces Thai amateur Poramin Danjirakul in a crucial match tomorrow after Danjirakul eliminated Irishman Ken Doherty with a 5-3 win earlier today.
Judd Trump, the Masters champion, got his campaign off to a winning start, whitewashing Ricky Walden 5-0. The Ace in the Pack, who is competing in the event for the first time since 2015, needs to build his form over the next two months to stand a chance of qualifying for the Tour Championship and bidding for a second world title at the Crucible.
Meanwhile, defending champion Stephen Maguire crashed out of the tournament on the first day after suffering two 5-2 defeats at the hands of China’s Ding Junhui and Zhang Anda. Ding and Zhang also beat Thailand’s 2022 Women’s World Champion Mink Nutcharut 5-2 to secure their progression from the group.
For Vafaei, the win over Higgins was particularly satisfying. “In any match, it is difficult to beat someone like John Higgins. He is my hero. If I was struggling with my game, he would be the person I’d ask to help me,” said the 28-year-old. “I’m happy with the way I performed. In six red snooker you have to play your own game. I am happy to get through. This is a good tournament to be involved with. It is such a great country, with great fans. It is always a pleasure to be in Thailand.” Vafaei will be hoping to better his previous Six Red best of quarter-final appearance in 2014.

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