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Judd Comeback Floors Lax Louis

Louis Heathcote couldn’t convert a 3-1 lead into a shock victory over Judd Trump as the world number one hit back to edge a 4-3 success in the first round of the Matchroom.Live English Open.

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Trump won a record six ranking events last season

The clash between last season’s Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year proved an exciting battle as Heathcote looked to be in charge for long spells, but the 23-year-old wasn’t able to finish the job. Trump goes through to the last 64 to face Yuan Sijun.

Bristol’s Trump started well with a break of 75 in the opening frame, but then lost a scrappy second. Heathcote compiled breaks of 68 and 53 to lead 3-1, and he had a match-winning chance in frame five but under-hit a red to a top corner on 32, leaving it short of the pocket. Trump made an 86 for 3-2 then got the better of a fragmented sixth frame to force the decider. A run of 61 helped Trump over the winning line.

“Louis will be very disappointed because he had chances,” said 31-year-old Trump. “I started well but then it went scrappy. I made some good long pots in the last frame and fell over the line in the end.  At the last tournament (the European Masters) I blew everyone away up until the semi-finals but then lost. So it can be better to start slowly. I’m still in it and I can’t play worse than I did today.

“In terms of the season, we don’t know what’s around the corner. But one day we’re going to wake up and everything will be back to normal with lots of big tournaments, so I’ll be prepared for that.”

Titanium Helps Higgins Show Mettle

John Higgins, who has recently switched to a different chalk and titanium ferrule, scored a 4-2 win over James Cahill. The Scot now meets English wild card Connor Benzey.

Four-time World Champion Higgins made a 122 in the second frame to lead 2-0. Cahill, renowned for scoring wins over the likes of Ronnie O’Sullivan and Mark Selby, fought back to 2-2 with 78 and 92. But Higgins took the last two frames with 67 and 57.

“I changed to Taom chalk a while ago and I’m now playing shots I could never play before,” said 45-year-old Higgins. “Robert Milkins, who usually uses the same chalk as me, came up to me in the practice room and said I should give it a go. In the last couple of weeks in practice I have not had a kick or bad bounce so I am totally sold on it now.

“I am using the titanium ferrule now as well and that has also made a difference. Stephen Maguire had it and I noticed how well he played with it. I feel good about my game, if you can add these little things that make an improvement then it helps.”