Four-time World Champion John Higgins impressed in a 5-3 win over Tom Ford as the Australian Goldfields Open got underway in Bendigo on Monday.
Scotland’s Higgins won the first frame against Ford with a break of 69 before Ford levelled with a run of 90. The next two frames were shared, then Ford threatened an upset when he took the fifth frame on the final black to lead 3-2.
But Higgins rose to the occasion to win the last three frames, knocking in breaks of 49, 91 and 89. In the last 16 he will meet England’s Robert Milkins, who beat China’s Liang Wenbo 5-3.
Surprise result of the day was a 5-2 defeat for Mark Allen at the hands of Fergal O’Brien. Irishman O’Brien came from 2-0 down to win five frames in a row with top breaks of 74, 72, 103 and 72.
Both of the Australian wild cards went out without winning a frame as Johl Younger lost 5-0 to Dominic Dale and Matthew Bolton lost to Andrew Higginson by the same scoreline.
England’s Higginson will now meet home favourite Neil Robertson on Wednesday evening. Melbourne-born Robertson gave his confidence a boost by winning the Wuxi Classic title in China on Sunday and will be aiming lift the trophy in Bendigo for the first time.
Matthew Stevens beat Luca Brecel 5-3 while Mark Joyce saw off Ryan Day 5-3.