John Higgins saw off bogey player Mark Davis 5-2 to reach the last 16 of the Bank of Beijing China Open.
Davis had won their previous four meetings, but this time it was Scotland’s Higgins who came out on top as he set up a clash with Mark Williams.
Higgins has won three invitation titles this season though he has struggled in ranking events in 2017, failing to reach a quarter-final.
“It was a bit scrappy, today Mark didn’t play anywhere near the way he can,” said four-time World Champion Higgins, who made breaks of 95, 68 and 74. “I can’t remember the last time I beat Mark so it was good to do that today. That was in my head a bit – I knew I had a bad record against him and that was in my mind.
“There are a lot of players playing a lot better than I am. At least I’m in the next round so I can improve. I always enjoy it here in Beijing. I go out and sample the Chinese food and eat with the local people. I hardly eat vegetables at home but I eat them a lot here. Maybe I should stay here for a month and lose a bit of weight!”
Judd Trump continues to put up an impressive defence of his title as he beat Eden Sharav 5-0. The Bristol cueman has lost just one frame in his three matches so far.
“I keep improving,” said world number two Trump, whose top break today was 65. “I’m not playing well yet and hopefully I will get better. Every tournament is important and I want to win this one for the third time. My fans give me a lot of support so they deserve to see me win.”
Welshman Williams came from 2-1 down to beat Michael Holt 5-2, boosting his hopes of gaining a top 16 spot and a place at the Crucible. But there’s still a long way to go for Williams as he must win the tournament to avoid having to go to Betfred World Championship qualifying next week. Martin Gould’s hopes of gaining a top 16 place are over – he had to reach the semi-finals but lost 5-3 to Tian Pengfei. For the latest on the top 16 race CLICK HERE.
Shaun Murphy top scored with 113 in a 5-1 defeat of 2015 China Open finalist Gary Wilson. “I have been playing well for a few weeks now and winning the tournament in Gibraltar this month has given me extra confidence,” said Murphy. “Winning a title lifts the pressure but at the same time raises my own expectations and hopefully I can win again this season.”
Iran’s Hossein Vafaei continued his fine run as he beat Ben Woollaston 5-4. Vafaei trailed four times but hit back each time and eventually won the decider 73-44.
Michael White came from 3-2 down to beat Ali Carter 5-3 while Rory McLeod top scored with 93 in a 5-3 win over Mike Dunn.