John Higgins defied his recent dull mood to make a 147 break en route to securing a comfortable victory over Gerard Greene in the Scottish Open on Wednesday.
The “Wizard of Wishaw”, who has been struggling for motivation on the Main Tour lately and has even threatened to retire at the end of this season, compiled the 147 break in the third frame of his 4-0 second round triumph.
Faultlessly constructed, the 43 year-old’s only significant obstacle came in the form of the last red, which he brilliantly screwed into the yellow pocket before dropping a tricky cut-back black and the remaining colours.
It marks the ninth maximum of the Scotsman’s career, which is third on the all-time list behind only Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.
Should nobody else construct a 147 break in what is the third Home Nations event of the season, Higgins will earn a £20,000 bonus from the rolling prize fund as well as the £2,000 cheque for the highest break.
The easy victory sends Higgins into the last 32 of the Scottish Open, an event he finished runner-up in two years ago to Marco Fu.
The latter was one of a few players to unexpectedly crash out on day three in Glasgow, with the Hong Kong cueist squandering a 3-0 lead to fall in a dramatic collapse to Alfie Burden.
Defending champion Neil Robertson was accounted for too as the Australian was defeated following a 4-2 defeat to Ross Muir.
Robertson was initially angry at what he believed to be slow tactics from his opponent but, after learning that the Scot was suffering from an eye condition, later apologised.
I would like to apologies to Ross. I let my self down in the interview which was seconds after the match. Incredibly disappointed with the conditions today and as defending champion it only made it more frustrating. I was unaware of his health problems and hope he gets better🙏
— Neil Robertson🌱 (@nr147) December 12, 2018
Meanwhile, new top 16 member Jack Lisowski lost to European Masters winner Jimmy Robertson, Mark King was downed by amateur David Lilley, and World Open runner-up David Gilbert was defeated 4-1 by Daniel Wells – who benefited from Ronnie O’Sullivan’s withdrawal by receiving a bye in the first round.
Several of the bigger names did manage to advance, though, as the ranking event edges nearer the business end of proceedings at the Emirates Arena.
Judd Trump scored a brace of centuries in hammering Ben Woollaston 4-0, a scoreline that was matched by Shaun Murphy in his victory over Michael Holt.
Ding Junhui continued his mini revival in form with a 4-1 success against Robert Milkins and was joined in the the third round by fellow Chinese stars Yan Bingtao and Zhou Yuelong.
Indeed, there are ten from the strong Chinese contingent still in action and hoping to land the £70,000 top prize.
Yuan Sijun and Zhao Xintong survived deciding frame thrillers, the latter after a titanic tussle with Dominic Dale that climaxed courtesy of a re-spotted black.
Tian Pengfei, Lu Ning, Zhang Anda, Zhang Yong, and Zhang Jiankang were the others from China to remain in contention.
Elsewhere, former world champion Graeme Dott kept Scottish hopes alive of a home victory as he joined Higgins and Muir at the next hurdle.
Among the others to survive were UK Championship runner-up Mark Allen, Kyren Wilson, Ryan Day, Ali Carter, and Joe Perry.
Live coverage of the Scottish Open continues on Eurosport and Quest TV.
Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)