World champion John Higgins impressed in the Far East as he became the first player through to the quarter-finals at this week’s Honghe Industrial China Open.

And the Scottish cueman was joined in the last eight by two-time world champion Mark Williams, Englishman Nigel Bond and compatriot Stephen Maguire.

All four players progressed to the business end of this season’s £250,000 week-long tournament at the Beijing Sports Gymnasium,

john_higgins.jpgHaving been taken the distance by Belfast professional Joe Swail in his first-round match earlier in the week, Higgins was doubly happy with his emphatic 5-1 demolition of Romford’s Mark King.

“I finished the match well,” reflected the world number one. “I gave Mark a lot of chances early on so I’m pleased to win.

“My match with Joe (Swail) was bad but I got some confidence from making a good break in the last frame.

“I gave Mark some chances and he didn’t take them. My next opponent is sure to take them so I will have to play better.”

Higgins started with an impressive 88 break before King levelled proceedings with a fine 62 run.

But from there it was one-way traffic as Wishaw-based cueman Higgins ran away with the match.

The Scot added further breaks of 50, 71, 62, 39 and a cool 116 in the final frame to complete a comfortable victory in just one hour and 20 minutes.

Victory will see the two-time world champion face either Mark Selby or Marco Fu in this year’s quarters, with the pair duo to contest their last-16 match later today.

Leicester’s Selby is arguably the season’s best player having already won two titles, while Fu won the Aberdeen Grand Prix ranking event towards the back end of last year.


Former world champions Peter Ebdon and Mark Williams are through to the last-16 stage of the Honghe Industrial China Open.But while the duo both had convincing 5-1 victories at the Beijing Sports Gymnasium, fellow Crucible kings John Higgins and Shaun Murphy were forced to produce battling displays to get through.

Current world champion Higgins eventually emerged a 5-4 winner after a tense final-frame victory over Ulsterman Joe Swail, while Murphy held his concentration to edge past experienced Stoke professional Dave Harold with a 5-3 win.

ebdon.jpgWith former world champions Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Graeme Dott having already fallen at the first hurdle, the pressure was on their fellow Crucible conquerors to reach the last 16.

And for Welshman Williams, whose top-32 place has been in jeopardy, he could not have wished for a better performance.

Despite having lost the opening frame of his match with Scottish qualifier Marcus Campbell, Williams quickly raised his game and pocketed breaks of 66, 110, 101, 49 and 40 to deservedly progress.

“That was a really good win for me,” reflected a delighted Williams.

“I needed to win to stay in the top 32, so hopefully this will be the springboard for more victories before the end of the season.

“It takes a while to adjust to coming to China, but I came out a few days before the tournament started. I have a good record here and the crowds are always good so I like playing here.

“That has to be one of the best matches I have played for a few months, so I can hopefully go on and play well in this tournament.”