Snooker: Higgins wins scrappy opener

Champion knows he must up his game as he seeks to avenge defeat by Williams
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The Independent Online

World champion John Higgins admits he must cut out the mistakes when he faces Mark Williams in the second round of the Sanyuan Foods China Open after a scrappy win against Fergal O'Brien.

The Scot beat O'Brien 5-3 this afternoon to set up a showdown with Williams after the Welshman beat England's Jamie Cope 5-3.

Higgins did not have things all his own way in Beijing. Having produced 74 and 50 to go 3-1 up, O'Brien clawed one back and made a fight of it until Higgins finally settled matters with a 74 in the eighth frame.

"I'm very happy to win but there were lots if mistakes from the two of us," Higgins told

"If I play like that against Mark I'll lose. The last time I played him here was in the final four years ago and I lost 10-9, so I owe him revenge.

"There's always pressure on your first round game so hopefully I'll have more confidence in my next match."

Home favourite Ding Junhui survived a scare to beat Gerard Greene 5-3 and move into the last 16. The 22-year-old from Wuxi will meet Mark Selby or Rod Lawler after eventually making two centuries and overcoming the England-born Northern Irishman.

Ding lost the opening frame before bouncing back to claim the next four, and though he allowed Greene back in to make it 4-2, an impressive 107 saw him through.

"I felt really bad and didn't play well, especially from 4-1 to 4-3," he told "But in the last frame I focused on every strike and just concentrated on the balls."

Mark Allen will now face Stephen Maguire, who beat Barry Hawkins 5-3, after his 5-1 win against Graeme Dott, while Ryan Day's 5-1 win over Robert Milkins saw him advance to a showdown with Stephen Hendry or Andrew Higginson.

Earlier, Neil Robertson saw off Mike Dunn 5-2 to book a meeting with either the defending champion Peter Ebdon or Judd Trump. Marco Fu saw off the little-known Belgian Bjorn Haneveer 5-2 and will face Shaun Murphy or Nigel Bond.