John Higgins 147: Former champion beaten by Kurt Maflin at World Championship

Betfred World Championship
Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 31 July-16 August
Coverage: Watch live on BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four and Red Button, with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app. Full details and times.

Four-time champion John Higgins made a maximum 147 break but could not avoid a shock 13-11 defeat by Kurt Maflin in the World Championship second round.

Scot Higgins, 45, has been runner-up the last three years and led 11-10, having trailed 7-4 and 10-8.

But Norway's Maflin, 36, responded in stunning fashion, taking three in a row to progress to the quarter-finals.

Higgins' brilliant 147 came in the 12th frame and was the first maximum made at the Crucible Theatre since 2012.

In a tremendous tussle, Higgins had already made a century and added six further breaks of 50 or more, but Maflin held himself together in fine manner with runs of 80, 75 and 63 for the biggest win of his career.

Maflin will face the winner of the second-round tie between Anthony McGill and Jamie Clarke next, guaranteeing a qualifier in the semi-finals.

Higgins said: "He was amazing, he never shied away from any shots and every credit to him, he went for it and deserved it in the end. I had my chance at 11-10 in front but take nothing away from him.

"It was a great match, I nicked a few frames off him but you have to admire the way he went for his shots."

In a fascinating encounter, three-time champion Mark Selby responded from falling 5-3 behind to level at 8-8 against Thailand's Noppon Saengkham.

Selby took three in a row with breaks of 76, 55 and 120 to go in front, but Saengkham made runs of 74 and 105 to set up a tense finish. The pair conclude on Friday at 14:30 BST.

'Making a 147 is special'

Higgins bumped elbows with Maflin to celebrate what was his 10th career maximum but his first at the Crucible.

The Scot is the seventh player to make a World Championship 147 and the first since compatriot Stephen Hendry eight years ago.

With no crowd in the Crucible Theatre because of the coronavirus pandemic, there was no standing ovation or cheering to mark Higgins' achievement, although there was the applause of the 'fake crowd' noise.

Higgins himself hardly celebrated as he walked off for the mid-session interval trailing 7-5.

The clearance puts the four-time world champion in line for a £40,000 bonus for the maximum, as well as the £15,000 highest break prize.

"That was incredible," said BBC TV analyst Joe Perry. "There was nothing else to put on his CV apart from the Crucible 147 and now he's done it.

"Crowd or no crowd, making a 147 is special because you have to be perfect on every shot."

Higgins predicted there would be a 147 before the championship and stated that this year's tournament could be the best ever in terms of standard.

The fifth seed continued to fight back after the interval and levelled the match at 8-8 by winning the final two frames, yet ultimately exited the event.

'The biggest buzz as a snooker player'

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry on BBC Two:

"Obviously it's a little bit surreal with no crowd there because when there are two or three reds left, they tend to clap every single shot, they know what is going on and the atmosphere just builds.

"It is the biggest buzz you can have as a snooker player. Winning the World Championship is amazing, it is the culmination of 17 days of hard work but a 147 is just special.

"It is such a rare thing to happen at the Crucible it is such a thrill to make one there."

Maximums at the World Championship

Higgins joins six others in making a 147 break on the biggest stage of all:

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