The first round of the Australian Goldfields Open was completed today as Neil Robertson, Judd Trump and Shaun Murphy all booked their last 16 places in Bendigo.
Home favourite Robertson is looking to go one better than his run to the final here last year and should be full of confidence following his thrilling triumph in the Wuxi Classic last week.
Despite a change of schedule that granted those who featured at the business end of the opening ranking event of the campaign an extra day off, Robertson appeared sluggish early on in his encounter with Andrew Higginson.
The latter was well in contention and suspicions of an upset began to arise when the Englishman went 2-1 ahead.
Yet, Robertson started to capitalise on the mistakes of his opponent and runs of 94 and 89 helped the 32 year-old on his way into the second round, where he will face Jamie Jones.
Trump, meanwhile, recorded a similar scoreline in his high-quality 5-2 victory over Rory McLeod.
McLeod kept the contest close and was level going into the interval but couldn’t compete with Trump’s scoring prowess as breaks of 106, 100 and 67 earned him a last 16 berth.
There the 24 year-old will meet Alan McManus after the Scot overcame Wuxi Classic runner-up Joe Perry in a tight tussle 5-4.
McManus has played six matches so far this season and of the five that he has won four of them have gone to the final frame – highlighting his battling qualities.
Elsewhere, former world champion Shaun Murphy had a much easier time of it as he completed a 5-0 rout over Jack Lisowski.
Last week I suggested that it was about time Lisowski began to live up to his promise but there was nothing really that he could do about this defeat with Murphy piling in breaks of 103, 90, 68 and 54 in a dominating display.
In a repeat of the 2012 final, Peter Ebdon enacted a small degree of revenge on Barry Hawkins as the battle of the Englishman ended 5-2 in favour of the 2002 world champion.
Lastly, Martin Gould continued his fine form of late, coming from 2-0 down to overcome Michael Holt 5-3.