JOHN Higgins showed glimpses of a return to form after he beat Stuart Bingham to reach the second round of the Masters.
The two-times Masters winner took full advantage of a below-par Bingham who failed to bring anywhere near his A game to the Alexandra Palace, missing several straight-forward pots throughout the first round clash.
The victory is a welcome start to 2014 for the Scot who ended last year with a miserable run of form not making a quarter-final in his last ten ranking events.
But Bingham, who was just one frame away from making the UK Championship final last month, was guilty of helping Higgins after enduring a bad day on the baize.
Higgins took the opening frame before Bingham levelled matters potting a re-spotted black in the second.
Higgins regained his lead winning the third frame before moving 3-1 ahead at the interval with a break of 94.
The break in play saw no change of fortune for Bingham who missed more opportunities to score heavy as Higgins extended his lead to 4-1. And another poor miss from the world number seven led to a 109 break from Higgins which saw him go 5-1 in front.
Bingham pulled a frame back with a quick-fire break of 91 but there was no stopping Higgins who clinched victory in the next frame doubling the final green into the baulk pocket.