John Higgins scored a 6-4 win over Cao Yupeng at the Betway UK Championship but revealed he needs a new tip on his cue before a tough third round meeting with Chinese prodigy Yan Bingtao.
Three-time UK Champion Higgins was well below his best against Cao; a 59 in the fifth frame was his only break over 50. The 42-year-old Scot now plays on Tuesday afternoon against Yan, who beat him 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the International Championship.
Higgins won his 29th ranking title at the Indian Open earlier this season
“I was rubbish tonight, I brought Cao down to my level,” said world number five Higgins. “I wasn’t happy with my cue tip and today when I was hitting balls it was gone. That can happen with tips sometimes.
“I’m going to drive up the road (to Glasgow) and ask Fraser Patrick to stick a new tip on for me. I can’t play any worse than that and if I went out with the same tip on Tuesday I would be lucky to win a frame.
“I think everyone rates Bingtao really highly, he could very well win the tournament this week so I’m going to have to play 100 times better to have a chance of beating him. He enjoys the big stage, he revels in it. He’s probably going to be on the big stage for the next 20 years. He believes that he can win and you don’t get that in a lot of young players.”
Iran’s top player Hossein Vafaei edged out Anthony McGill 6-5 in a match which finished at 12.30am. Scotland’s McGill came from 3-0 down to lead 4-3 but Vafaei rallied and eventually won the decider 74-28.
“It was a very tough match because we both respect each other a lot,” said world number 50 Vafaei. “It was a hard fight and I’m happy to win. It’s great to win matches in a such a big tournament and to make my country proud of me because a lot of people in Iran are following me.”
World number eight Barry Hawkins came from 2-0 down to beat Hammad Miah 6-2 with top runs of 96, 71 and 90. Martin Gould beat Robbie Williams by the same scoreline with a top break of 135.
Michael White set up a match with Ronnie O’Sullivan by beating Matthew Selt 6-1. Welshman White fired breaks of 56, 103, 51, 77 and a tournament-high 142.
It was a good night for Thailand as Noppon Saengkham saw off Leo Fernandez 6-0 with a top run of 109 while promising Sunny Akani scored an impressive 6-4 win over Michael Holt with high scores of 79 and 71.
China’s Xiao Guodong top scored with 95 in a 6-1 win over Tom Ford.