John Higgins put his recent drubbing to Ronnie O’Sullivan firmly behind him as he began the Shanghai Masters with victory over Switzerland’s Alexander Ursenbacher.
But the four-times world champion said he felt like a zombie during his 5-2 win over the recent English Open semi-finalist because of the cramped scheduling which has seen Higgins and other stars fly back and forth from China to England then in recent weeks.
Higgins lost 6-0 to O’Sullivan in the Champion of Champions on Thursday and admitted he was tired ahead of his first round match after getting the plane to China from the UK.
“I felt like a zombie,” he told World Snooker after sealing a place in the Last 64..
“I arrived here (Shanghai) yesterday (Sunday) from the UK and I’ve just basically been in my bed.
“I think this is the worst it has been for the players because its been back to UK back to China then back to the UK then China. I think it will affect the players. This has been really punishing ”
Elsewhere, world number one Mark Selby also got back to winning ways after his Champion of Champions quarter-final loss to Luca Brecel by beating Ian Burns 5-2.
International Championship finalist Mark Allen kept up his good form with a good 5-1 win over Yan Bingtao – the man who thrashed Ronnie O’Sullivan a fortnight ago.
Liang Wenbo, China’s top player in this tournament after Ding Junhui pulled out due to illness, beat Rod Lawler 5-2 while Mark Williams recorded a 5-1 victory against Wang Yuchen.
Meanwhile, Michael White hit a break of 140 during his deciding frame victory over Mark Davis while Jack Lisowski continued his hot streak of form this season as breaks of 113, 117, 86, 86 and 82 earned him a convincing 5-1 win over Chris Totten.
World number 18 Ryan Day suffered an agonising final frame loss to China’s Yu Delu despite leading one stage 4-3.