John Higgins moving ‘onwards and upwards’ after thumping David Grace


John Higgins was pleased with his performance after thumping David Grace 10-3 to reach the second round of the World Snooker Championship for the 25th time.

The four-time world champion began Tuesday’s afternoon session with a commanding 7-2 lead and needed just an hour to book his place in the last 16, where he will meet either Kyren Wilson or Ryan Day.

The 47-year-old Scot won the first frame of the session with a break of 114 and looked to be cruising in the second at 48-0 up before Yorkshireman Grace hit back with a phenomenal counter clearance to make it 8-3.

Higgins won the next frame with a break of 97 to edge closer to victory before closing things out with a classy 124 to win 10-3.

Higgins said: “Coming into today it would have taken a bit of a collapse from me not to get over the line.

“But I was pleased with the way I was hitting the ball today. I’m feeling good about scoring. If I get my chance I feel as if I can go on and do some breaks here, which I think you always need to do here.

“You need to have sessions here against the best players where you can go on a bit of a run and knock in some breaks.

“And I think I’m capable of that this year, so onwards and upwards.”

David Grace suffered defeat in the first round
David Grace suffered defeat in the first round (Mike Egerton/PA)

“He was just hitting it so nicely. He was getting the white to talk, basically. He was getting it to wherever he wanted it. That’s the sign that you’re hitting it well.”

On the other table, last year’s runner-up Judd Trump left himself with serious work to do after going 6-3 down against Scotland’s Anthony McGill.

Gary Wilson progressed to the second round after surviving an Elliot Slessor fightback to win 10-8 in a thrilling contest which reached its conclusion after 11pm.

Wilson had held a convincing lead ahead of the evening session after going 7-2 up on Tuesday morning but Slessor got the good start he needed, winning three of the first four frames to make it 8-5 at the mid-session interval.

The next frame lasted more than an hour as a mammoth safety battle broke out, with 2022 Scottish Open champion Wilson coming out on top to put the finish line in sight.

But Slessor pegged him back again, winning the next three frames to make it 9-8 before Wilson finally put the match to bed with a break of 109.

Joe Perry took control of his match against Robert Milkins when they returned to action on Tuesday evening, moving 7-2 ahead.

Their first-round encounter had been suspended on Monday after orange powder was tipped over the cloth by a protester.

But Perry made up for lost time as he won the first four frames to take a big lead into the mid-session interval.

And he kept his foot on the gas after the break, edging a close fifth frame 72-60 to go 5-0 up before the pair each won two of the next four frames.

Jack Lisowski will head into Wednesday’s morning session with a 6-3 lead against Noppon Saengkham after making a solid start to his campaign on Tuesday.


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