World Snooker Championship 2012: I can win it - Hendry

By Ben DirsBBC Sport at the Crucible
Stephen Hendry
Stephen Hendry

Stephen Hendry says he is capable of winning his eighth World Championship after a 13-4 second-round drubbing of defending champion John Higgins.

"Of course I can [win it]," Hendry, 43, told BBC Sport. "But there are a few other players who will have something to say about that.

"I'm hitting the ball as well as I have for a long time and there's no place where I feel more comfortable than the Crucible."

Hendry, who plays Stephen Maguire in the quarter-finals, added that he was "shocked" at how poorly Higgins had played.

"If someone said beforehand I would beat John 13-4 I would have said they were nuts. The first session [after which Hendry led 5-3] was quite a high standard but Friday night was one of the strangest sessions of snooker I've played.

Hendry sees off Higgins at Crucible

"I'm fortunate that John's probably never played as badly as that in his life at the Crucible. You feel lucky when you get one or two chances against John in a frame, but at times I was getting five and six chances.

"At times I was coming to the table in shock and not knowing what to do, it was weird. I fully expected him to come out all guns blazing; when his back's against the wall, that's when he normally plays his best snooker."

Four-time champion Higgins, who had not been beaten by Hendry in a ranking event since 2003, said he was at a loss to explain what went wrong in their first ever meeting at the Crucible.

"Stephen hit the ball tremendously well, in and about the balls he looked back to his best, he really did," said Higgins, 36.

"After the first session it looked a good match. I went 2-0 up and then Stephen didn't really miss a ball to make it 5-3.

"I lost the first frame Friday night and could have maybe nicked it and after that I just brought Stephen down. I can't put my finger on why, but it was really bad.

"This place can do that to you - it can give you your best moments but it can also give you your worst nightmares, and that was a nightmare, it really was."

Higgins, who started the season at number two in the rankings but has fallen to six, put his bad season down to poor preparation and a failure to adapt to the rigours of the sport's revamped, far-flung tour.

"I've not done the right things on or off the table and you only get out what you put in in life," he admitted.

"This year I don't think there's been any tournament I came into thinking I had a genuine chance of winning.

"Other players might prefer tournaments running onto each other but I've always felt as if I need to put a bit of work into my game. But over my career I've been a bit of a winner, and things like this spark you to come back, because you don't like going through what I've just gone through.

"You either just lie down and let it happen to you or you get up and try to win more tournaments and that's what I'll try to do."

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