Snooker News

John Higgins Through First Test

John Higgins just about made it through to the last 32 of the Indian Open after an entertaining 4-3 victory over Zhao Xintong on Tuesday.

John Higgins 2015

Higgins also had breaks of 88 and 77. Photo credit: Monique Limbos

In a match that boasted seven breaks of 60 or above, tournament favourite Higgins held off the young Chinese player with an 87 in the decider.

The Scot is one of the few big name stars who decided to enter the fourth ranking event the season, and he’ll be looking to take full advantage as he goes in search of a first ranking title in almost two years.

Higgins’ countryman Anthony McGill, the reigning champion, also advanced following a 4-1 triumph against Ashley Hugill.

McGill only managed a single noteworthy break, a 98 in the second frame, but managed to conjure a convincing looking scoreline nevertheless.

The in-form Shaun Murphy was similarly successful in a one-sided affair, emerging from his contest with Hammad Miah with a whitewash win.

Murphy has finished runner-up in each of the last two ranking tournaments this campaign so will be hoping to make it third time lucky in Visakhapatnam.

By contrast, Northern Ireland’s Mark Allen has struggled for any consistent form over the last year or longer so will be seeking a kickstart in his fortunes as he battles to remain inside the top 16 this term.

Allen, who recently became a dad for the second time, hammered China’s Niu Chuang 4-0 while old foe Stuart Bingham overcame Duane Jones 4-1.

Arguably the biggest upset on day two saw Stephen Maguire lose in a final frame shoot out to Akani Songsermsawad.

Maguire, who reached the final of the Riga Masters at the outset of the summer, had been one of the highly-fancied competitors at the start of this week but never got going against the Thai.

Meanwhile, China Championship winner Luca Brecel also unexpectedly fell after a 4-1 loss to Gary Wilson – who compiled a 103 to wrap up the victory against the Belgian.

Elsewhere, David Gilbert thumped Wang Yuchen 4-0 in what was a bad day for the Chinese contingent, while Michael Holt and Kurt Maflin ousted Ian Preece and Zhou Yuelong respectively – despite the latter compiling a tournament high 141 century break.

Paul Hunter Classic semi-finalist Li Hang was downed 4-1 by Gerard Greene, and among the others to progress were Dominic Dale, Sam Baird and Alexander Ursenbacher.

Elliot Slessor upset Alan McManus 4-3 while, late on in the day’s play, Liam Highfield and Martin O’Donnell completed the second round line-up.

O’Donnell withstood a spirited fight back from Mike Dunn to hold off his fellow Englishman on the final black in the decider.

Coverage continues on the Eurosport Player.

Click here to view the draw. (Times CET)

 

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