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