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.”