Indian Open

John Higgins Begins Indian Open Defence

John Higgins got his 2019 Indian Open campaign off to a positive start after a 4-1 victory over Ashley Hugill in Kochi on Wednesday.

The reigning champion, who has been struggling for form this season, comfortably advanced from his held-over qualifying round fixture as the rescheduled Indian Open finally got under way.

The ranking event had been scheduled for September but the 2018 Kerala floods forced a postponement.

Higgins is the highest ranked competitor in a weakened field that features only a handful of the sport’s top 16 in the rankings list.

But Michael White, the only other former champion in the draw, crashed out after a 4-2 defeat to giant-killer James Cahill.

Amateur Cahill has already made headlines this term for standout victories over Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy.

The former professional knocked in breaks of 68 and 67 as he dispatched the 2015 Indian Open champion for another landmark win.

Murphy, meanwhile, recorded a much-needed 4-1 success in his preliminary encounter against wildcard Lucky Vatnani.

Indeed, none of the invited Indian amateurs managed to make much headway on home soil as Jack Lisowski, Zhou Yuelong, Dominic Dale, and Ben Woollaston all eased passed their opposition from the host nation.

Elsewhere, English Open champion Stuart Bingham reached the last 32 after a 4-1 victory over Peter Lines and fellow Englishman Joe Perry repeated that scoreline with the aid of a 125 century break against Ashley Carty.

It was a much tighter affair for Yan Bingtao, who edged into the second round proper with a close 4-3 win over Gerard Greene but Liang Wenbo was dumped out in a deciding frame defeat to Sam Craigie.

Eden Sharav and Soheil Vahedi both advanced by the narrowest of margins too after inflicting cruel losses on Michael Georgiou and Robin Hull respectively.

Among the others to make it through their opening tests were Oliver Lines, Matthew Selt, John Astley, and Lu Ning.

Live coverage continues on the Eurosport Player

Click here to view the Indian Open draw (Times: CET)

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