Ken Doherty recorded an excellent 4-1 victory over three-time champion John Higgins in the last 32 of the Welsh Open today.
The Dubliner, also a multiple winner of the title when he claimed the spoils in 1993 and 2001, comfortably outplayed his Scottish opponent, who was completely out of sorts.
Higgins, complaining of his cue of late, was never at the races and made a succession of unforced errors but that is to take nothing away from Doherty’s triumph.
The 43 year-old has performed better this season in spells, certainly in comparison to the previous two or three years, with solid performances in the PTC series especially seeing his rise back into the Top 32 of the world rankings.
And a good run in Newport would help solidify his place in the second tier with it carrying a higher weight of ranking points.
Doherty will next month hold auditions for his new Talent Show contest for up and coming snooker enthusiasts in Ireland but the veteran former world champion will be pleased to prove he has not completely transformed into a television pundit just yet.
“Tnx all delighted to win v Higgins today one of my old adversaries and friends on the circuit,life in d ole dog yet:),” was the Darling of Dublin’s tweet earlier.
Doherty wasn’t the only old campaigner to march into the second round as Alan McManus, runner-up to Ken in the 1993 final and again the following year to Steve Davis, overcame in-form Barry Hawkins 4-2.
However, there were two notable successes for a pair of the sport’s emerging talents with contrasting wins for 24 year-old Sam Baird and Pankaj Advani, 27, of India.
Baird, ranked well below the top 64, whitewashed Gerard Greene 4-0 to set up a potential clash with local hero Mark Williams.
In a completely different encounter, World Billiards champion Advani regained the form he had earlier in the season to nervelessly dispatch of 2005 Crucible king Shaun Murphy in a decider.
Both players will be making their debuts in the last 16 of a ranking event which is already justification for the reasoning behind the more open draws that have been initiated recently but will come into more widespread effect in the 2013/14 campaign.
Elsewhere, there were 4-2 triumphs for Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen over German Masters runner-up Marco Fu and for home favourite Matthew Stevens against Liang Wenbo.
Along with Williams tomorrow, Dominic Dale will hope to keep the Welsh flag flying by continuing to heap the recent sorrow that has been inflicted on world no.2 Judd Trump while defending champion Ding Junhui and Irishman Fergal O’Brien go up against Mark King and Graeme Dott respectively.
The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.