John Higgins made a superb start to his 2023/24 season as he fired a century and three more breaks over 70 in a 5-1 thrashing of Martin Gould to reach the final stages of the BetVictor European Masters.
Higgins elected not to enter the season-opening BetVictor Championship League, but following a three-month break from competitive action the Scot was quickly into a groove and needed just 81 minutes to stroll through the qualifying round in Leicester.
The four-time Crucible king will head to Nuremberg for the televised stages of the world ranking event which will run from August 22 to 27. For tickets click here.
Runs of 97 and 80 gave Higgins the first two frames. Gould pulled one back with a 138, but failed to pot a ball in the last three frames as Higgins fired breaks of 129, 78 and 48.
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh eased to a 5-0 whitewash over Asjad Iqbal, top scoring with 75, 59 and 80. Ireland’s Aaron Hill edged out Jimmy White 5-4, despite veteran White fighting back from 4-1 down to 4-4.
Jamie Jones enjoyed a tremendous fight-back from 4-1 down to beat Yuan Sijun 5-4. Jones took the last four frames with top breaks of 98, 118 and 135.
Zak Surety scored the highest break of his career, 135, and also made a 105 during a 5-3 defeat of Cazoo British Open champion Ryan Day.