John Higgins has admitted "it would mean everything" to win the BetVictor Welsh Open as he took one step closer to a record fourth title in Cardiff.

The four-time world champion won a showdown of the Scots last night, beating compatriot Stephen Maguire 5-1 in the quarter-finals.

Victory secured progression into the last four of a competition in which seven of the world's top eight players have already been eliminated.

Higgins last won this tournament in 2011, a stunning season which also saw him lift the UK and World titles, but he has suffered a slump in form since.

"The last two or three years have been pretty pathetic really," Higgins confessed. "So to come through and have a chance to maybe win this event would be great. It would mean everything with the way my season has gone.

"It's been a long time coming. I feel as if I'm slightly getting back to the part of my game where I feel more confident, but I'm still missing too many easy balls.

"If I keep on doing that in the semi-final or the final I'll get found out, so I've got to try and eradicate that."

It was Higgins' first ranking quarter-final of the season, and the head-to-head had not read well of late for the Wizard of Wishaw, with Maguire having won the last six meetings between the pair.

With them being such close friends it was always likely to be a battle, and there was very little in the way of high-scoring breaks as Maguire's misfortune led to an unflattering scoreline.

"Stephen let me get away with murder," reflected Higgins. "Luckily I've managed to get a few breaks, but I didn't play well either.

"It was a scrappy game. It's good to win against Stephen. who is one of the form players, but the performance could have been a hundred times better."

There was a sense of tension in the air as the opening exchanges saw both players miss relatively straightforward reds, with Higgins getting across the line to take an early lead.

The 39-year-old was solid. if unspectacular. in victory, often running out of position or missing simple shots. But his opponent had very little luck with the run of the balls, and Higgins soon had a 2-0 lead.

Maguire, a winner here in 2013, racked up 51 - his highest run of the match - in the third frame to leave Higgins needing a six-point snooker to win. He duly obliged, but lost out in a safety battle on the pink ball, with Maguire taking a crucial frame to half the deficit.

Higgins responded in classic fashion, knocking in his highest break of 63 to carry a commanding 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval.

A horrible miscue in the fifth added to Maguire's woes, and when staring down the barrel of defeat in the sixth frame, the visibly frustrated Glaswegian played a number of loose shots to enable Higgins to progress and take one step closer to the £60,000 top prize.