After winning his first ranking title since 2012 at the recent Welsh Open, John Higgins made a strong start to the Indian Open with a 4-2 win over Jamie Burnett.
The Scot closed with a total clearance of 136, the highest break of the tournament so far and a sign of his renewed confidence. Higgins, who beat Ben Woollaston 9-3 in the final in Cardiff last month, now meets Jamie Cope in the last 32 in Mumbai as he continues his bid for back-to-back ranking titles.
“It was a scrappy match today so I was happy to win,” said Higgins. “Winning the Welsh Open has given me a bit of extra belief that when a match is close, I can get in and make a frame-winning break. Jamie shut me out for a couple of frames and these short matches can go either way.
“I would like to keep the momentum going. I’ve managed to qualify for the Players Championship which was pleasing, but it means there are a lot of big tournaments over the coming weeks. There’s a lot of travelling as well but you just have to try to roll with it. You try to relax in between matches and sleep whenever you are tired.
“I was looking forward to coming here and having a run, whereas before I was coming to events without much confidence and checking out after a couple of days. It’s enjoyable to be here because they are looking after us really well, the hotel is beautiful and the weather is great.
“The fact that a lot of top players have not come here doesn’t make any difference to me because everyone is a good player and you can only concentrate on your own game.”
Michael White avoided a come-down having won last week’s Shoot-Out as he beat Cao Yupeng 4-3. White compiled runs of 97, 96 and a vital 77 in the decider.
Matthew Selt made a 103 in a 4-0 defeat of Joel Walker, while Tian Pengfei won a Chinese derby 4-1 against Lyu Haotian.
Ricky Walden eased to a 4-1 win over Rory McLeod, his best breaks 75, 85 and 52, while Anthony McGill saw off Tom Ford 4-0 with a best run of 75.
Rod Lawler top scored with 86 in a 4-0 win over Sam Baird while Joe Perry saw off Marcus Campbell 4-2 with top runs of 69, 77 and 78.