Ding Junhui came from 5-2 down to beat Mitchell Mann 6-5 on a dramatic opening day at the International Championship in Daqing.
China’s top player Ding was in danger of a shock first round defeat when he stood three down with four to play against world number 115 Mann. Breaks of 65, 52, 73, 64 and 57 helped bring Birmingham’s Mann to the verge of victory.
But Ding won the next two frames with a top run of 64 then came from 57-0 down to steal the tenth with breaks of 32 and 33. And he finished clinically with a match-winning 81 in the decider. Ding now meets David Grace in the last 64.
World Champion Mark Selby also came through a stern opening test, beating Paul Davison 6-4 with a top break of 122. “Paul has been around for a long while, he’s very experienced and he played great snooker in patches today,” said Selby. “It could have gone 5-5 in the end and then the result could have been different.”
John Higgins looked in imperious form as he saw off Sydney Wilson 6-0 with runs of 67, 65, 60, 145 and 84.
English Open winner Liang Wenbo came from 5-3 down to beat Mei Xi Wen 6-5, winning the decider 81-23.
In a last 64 tie, Neil Robertson thrashed Oliver Lines 6-0 with top breaks of 123 and 107. “In recent years I’ve made a conscious decision to play about four or five seconds faster on each shot, to try to take my game to the next level,” said Robertson. “So far this season it is working really well. I’ve stopped looking at different shots which don’t need to be looked at. I’m really pleased with how it’s going.”
Shaun Murphy came from 3-1 down to beat Robin Hull 6-4 with a top run of 94.
China’s promising Zhou Yuelong scored a 6-3 win over Anthony McGill, while last year’s runner-up David Gilbert suffered an early exit this time, losing 6-3 to Thai veteran James Wattana.