FINLAND’s Robin Hull proved his exploits in this year’s World Championship were not a one off after beating Xiao Guodong on the opening day of the first major event of the new season.
Hull. who won all four qualifying matches back in April to make the Crucible and a first game showdown first game against then defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan, started the new campaign continuing his good form with a 5-3 against win the Chinese star in the Wuxi Classic.
Guodong had one of his best seasons to date in the 2013/14 campaign after making his first major final in Shanghai and then making his debut at the Crucible.
And things looked to be going Xiao’s way early on after he won three of the opening four frames.
But Hull, who in the second frame hit a break of 101, bounced back winning the next four frames to record another impressive victory. After levelling the scores at 3-3, the 39-year-old clinched a place in the second round with breaks of 59 and 69.
Hull will face either Graeme Dott or Zhou Yuelong for a place in the last 16.
Elsewhere, breaks of 85, 122 and 91 helped John Higgins beat first round opponent and fellow Scotsman Anthony McGill 5-3.
Judd Trump showed signs he had put his World Championship quarter-final defeat to Neil Robertson behind him by completing a 5-1 win over David Grace.
Michael Georgiou, who has just returned to the professional arena after a successful Q School campaign, made sure his return was even sweeter by thrashing Marcus Campbell 5-1 – a result which followed his impressive 5-0 win over Aditya Mehta in the qualifying round.
Recent Yixing Open finalist Michael Holt battled back from 4-2 down to defeat Rory McLeod. And Ben Woollaston came through a tough nine-frame match against Fergal O’Brien.
And the opening day of the tournament proved one to forget for Yu Delu, Andrew Norman and Scott Donaldson who suffered wildcard round upsets to Yan Bingtao, Zhao Xintong and Chen Zifan respectively.
Tuesday sees world champion Mark Selby begin his Wuxi Classic campaign against Robbie Williams, who beat Niu Zhuang 5-1 in the wildcard round.
Sam BAIRD 5-3 Fraser PATRICK
Marco FU 5-2 Craig STEADMAN
Anthony HAMILTON 5-1 Kurt MAFLIN
Stuart BINGHAM 5-2 Tony DRAGO
Alan McMANUS 5-3 Gary WILSON
Ricky WALDEN 5-0 Peter LINES
Cao YUPENG 5-1 Mark KING