John Higgins may have "scarring" from his painful Tour Championship final defeat back in April, thinks Neal Foulds, after the legendary Scot was knocked out of the British Open by Yuan Sijun.
Higgins led 3-2 and had a sizeable final-frame lead over his 22-year-old opponent, but inexplicably ran out of position when the finishing line neared, and Sijun pounced to take the match 4-3.
It's not the first time Higgins has let slip a lead this year, with his Tour Championship final defeat to Neil Robertson back in April seeing him lose from 9-4 ahead.
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And Foulds thinks being on the receiving end of that comeback may still be having an effect on Higgins.
Foulds, speaking on ITV Sport, said: "It was a really good match because Sijun has beaten him [Higgins] twice now, the other match in Germany [at the German Masters in 2019] was also on the black in the last frame.
"So it's a terrific win against a John Higgins that is not below par - he's playing well - but John, despite him playing well, is just losing matches in unusual circumstances, he looked very disappointed walking off.
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"That match when he was 9-4 up at the Tour Championship would've hurt him. Maybe there's a little bit of scarring there. The odd match goes against him that would never have gone against him before."
Alan McManus also struggled to understand the nature of Higgins' defeat.
He said: "The first thing you've got to do is pay tribute to Yuan Sijun.
"It was brilliant the way he stuck in, because it looked for all money as if the match was done and dusted. I don't know if it's going to become a habit with John.
"Like in football [people say] 'that was avoidable'. That [Higgins' loss] was avoidable, certainly with the chance John had."
Foulds joined McManus in praising Sijun, who takes his place in the third round of the event in Milton Keynes.
He said: "Stephen [Hendry, seven-time world champion] said he [Sijun] was the best prospect from China since Ding Jinhui.
"He [Hendry] doesn't chuck out compliments like confetti.
"He [Sijun] is 22 years of age, he's a very young snooker player.
"I thought he played superbly, it was a great performance against a John Higgins that was good."
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