FOUR times world champion John Higgins crashed to a shock second round defeat to a player ranked more than 50 places below him on the opening day of the German Masters.
The Scot was sent packing his bags in the last 64 stage by world number 58 Peter Lines in what was arguably the best win of his professional career to date.
Incredibly, it was Lines second win over Higgins within a week after they played each other in the Sky Snooker Shoot Out last weekend.
This year’s German Masters is one of the first big ranking events to adopt a flat draw structure which sees the top players having to play the early rounds against lowest ranked opposition.
The format, introduced by World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn, has been brought into to bring the game to a level playing field allowing the lower ranked players more opportunity to play against the top players and give them the experience of playing at the venue stage of tournaments.
Higgins appeared to have recovered from a slow start when he pulled level after being 2-0 down. But the Yorkshireman battled on and breaks of 52, 96 and 55 saw him clinch a memorable 5-3 win and a place in the last 32 stage.
The opening day at the sunning Tempodrom arena in Berlin also saw Premier League champion Stuart Bingham suffer a shock 5-1 loss to Andrew Higginson in their third round encounter.
Higgins and Bingham were the only two big casualties on what was an eventful opening day. World number 2 Judd Trump scraped through to the round three with a final frame win over James Wattana and Ali Carter was made to work hard for a place in the last 16 in a 5-3 win over Fraser Patrick. Ding Junhgui had to battle back from behind to beat Liu Chuang.
The day saw comfortable victories for other top 16 players including Mark Selby, Neil Robertson, Shaun Murphy, Matthew Stevens, Mark Allen, Mark Williams and last year’s German Masters runner-up Stephen Maguire.
Norway’s Kurt Maflin deserves a special mention for reaching the last 16 stage of a major ranking event for the first time after a 5-4 win over Xiao Goudong.
Tomorrow (Thursday) will see the remainder of the third round matches and the evening session will see four last 16 matches taking place.
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