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Former world champions Higgins and Selby breeze through first round at NI Open


Snooker player John Higgins

Snooker player John Higgins

Snooker player Mark Selby

Snooker player Mark Selby

Snooker player Lyu Haotian in action (Tai Chengzhe/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Snooker player Lyu Haotian in action (Tai Chengzhe/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

Visual China Group via Getty Ima

Snooker player John Higgins

Four-time world champion John Higgins is through to the second round of the Northern Ireland Open at the Waterfront Hall.

The World No.5 defeated China's Chang Bingyu 4-2 in the first round clash in Belfast, which sets up a second round tie with either Riley Parsons or Kacper Filipiak.

Meanwhile, former World No.1 Mark Selby has also reached the second round after his 4-2 win over Xu Si earlier in the day.

The three-time world champion made light work of his Chinese opponent and will now face Matthew Stevens in the next round, after the Englishman defeated Chris Wakelin in his first round tie.

And it was an easy night for Shaun Murphy, who romped past Fraser Patrick with a 4-0 win to set up a second round meeting against either Dominic Dale or Luo Honghao.

There have been some early casualties in Belfast, however, with World No.10 David Gilbert and World No.16 Ding Junhui the two biggest shock eliminations on day one of the tournament.

Gilbert was knocked out after a mammoth final frame against Anthony Hamilton, beaten 4-3, while 13-time tour winner Ding was eliminated by England's David Lilley, losing 4-2 in the afternoon session at the Waterfront Hall.

There were further shocks in Belfast as Ryan Day, Xiao Guodong and Lyu Haotian all fell at the first hurdle as well, with Day defeated 4-1 by Harvey Chandler, Guodong beaten 4-2 by Alexander Ursenbacher, while Haotian lost 4-1 to fellow countryman Tian Pengfei.

Further upsets saw Tom Ford and Hossein Vafaei both whitewashed 4-0 in their first round clashes with Andrew Higginson and Si Jiahui respectively, while Anthony McGill was knocked out by Robbie Williams, 4-1.

And Irishman Ken Doherty was spurred on by the local support at the Waterfront to shock Michael Georgiou, winning 4-2 in the headline game of the midday session.

There were no such worries for other big names such as Stephen Maguire, who recorded a 4-0 whitewash of Declan Lavery, or Ali Carter, who defeated Robert Milkins 4-1, while Yan Bingtao had to battle to see off Andy Hicks 4-2.

Elsewhere, there was joy for Northern Ireland's Jordan Brown, who reached the second round with a 4-2 win over James Wattana, but it was disappointment for Gerard Greene as he was defeated 4-1 by former Grand Prix champion Marco Fu.

In the day's final match, 15-year-old Robbie McGuigan, the step-son of Antrim's Mark Allen, was whitewashed 4-0 by fellow Northern Irishman Patrick Wallace.

Day One Results

10am: Zhang Anda 4-1 Simon Lichtenberg; Hossein Vafaei 0-4 Si Jiahui; Ali Carter 4-1 Robert Milkins; Li Hang 4-1 Elliot Slessor; Yan Bingtao 4-2 Andy Hicks; Marco Fu 4-1 Gerard Greene; Lyu Haotian 1-4 Tian Pengfei; Matthew Stevens 4-1 Chris Wakelin

11:30am: Ashley Carty 1-4 Rod Lawler; Thor Chuan Leong 1-4 Jak Jones; Ken Doherty 4-2 Michael Georgiou

1pm: Tom Ford 0-4 Andrew Higginson; Mark Selby 4-2 Xu Si; Peter Lines 1-4 Mei Xi Wen; Ryan Day 1-4 Harvey Chandler; Stephen Maguire 4-0 Declan Lavery

2pm: Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-2 Mark King; Mitchell Mann 4-1 Liam Highfield; Mike Dunn 2-4 Mark Davis; Chen Feilong 4-2 Kishan H Hirani; Ding Junhui 2-4 David Lilley

4:30pm: David Gilbert 3-4 Anthony Hamilton; Jordan Brown 4-2 James Wattana

7pm: Patrick Wallace 4-0 Robbie McGuigan; John Higgins 4-2 Chang Bingyu; Jackson Page 4-3 Barry Pinches; Anthony McGill 1-4 Robbie Williams; Hammad Miah 4-1 Martin Gould; Xiao Guodong 2-4 Alexander Ursenbacher; Ian Burns 4-0 Andy Lee; Barry Hawkins 4-3 Eden Sharav

8pm: Shaun Murphy 4-0 Fraser Patrick; Adam Stefanow 0-4 Luca Brecel

Belfast Telegraph