Indian Open: Anthony McGill off to winning start

The defending champion rediscovered his form in the second frame and never really looked back. The Scotsman’s famed potting skills were to the fore especially during the unfinished break of 98 which saw him wrap up the second frame with ease.

Ashley Hugill in action against Anthony McGill in the Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday.   -  THE HINDU

Defending champion Anthony McGill made short work of Englishman Ashley Hugill with a 39-48, 98 (98)-0, 68-39, 59-27, 71-68 (64) win in the first round of the fourth Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament at Novotel Hotel here on Wednesday.

Though the start was not impressive, McGill rediscovered his form in the second frame and never really looked back. The Scotsman’s famed potting skills were to the fore especially during the unfinished break of 98 which saw him wrap up the second frame with ease.

In the fifth frame, Ashley showed signs of comeback with a break of 64 but had the misfortune of seeing his yellow hit the green into the hole when he was going for safety play when he was leading 68-44. A visibly pleased McGill responded in style to wrap up that frame and ensure that the contest didn't drag for too long.

Earlier, former world amateur champion Mark Allen of Ireland outclassed Chinese Niu Zhuang 88-5, 88-7 (83), 89-0 (89), 79-18 (79) in a first round game, which outlined why Allen is known as the 'Pistol' in the circuit for his rapid finish to the match.

For most of the match, Zhuang was sitting and just watching the opponent come up with quality potting, piling off big breaks to keep him out of the contest. Clearly, the 31-year-old Allen looked to be a man in a hurry.

Later in he evening, four-time world champion John Higgins overcame a spirited challenge from 20-year-old Chinese opponent Zhao Xintong to notch up a 6-85 (73), 18-82 (78), 77 (77)-8, 89 (88)-0, 67-62 (60), 38-66 (60), 94 (87)-16.

The results: 1st round: Anthony McGill (Sco) bt Ashley Hugill (Eng) 39-48, 98 (98)-0, 68-39, 59-27, 71-68 (64); Stuart Bingham (Sco) bt Duane Jones (Wal) 23-61, 77-0, 120 (101)-0, 71(71)-5, 61-38; Gary Wilson (Eng) bt Luca Brecel (Bel) 1-76 (72), 75 (62)-8, 60-20, 73 (64)-28, 103 (103)-4; Dominic Dale (Wal) bt Rod Lawler (Eng) 70 (70)-47, 8-73, 69(52)-19, 70-44, 62(61)-0; Alexander Ursenbacher (Swi) bt Andrew Higginson (Eng) 92-13, 78-59, 6-79(50), 86-19, 64-36; Sam Baird (Eng) bt Mark Davis (Eng) 19-77, 50-26, 100(76)-6, 54-44, 27-80(79), 72-52; Kurt Maflin (Den) bt Zhou Yuelong (Chn) 70(70)-15, 76-17, 0-141(141), 76(76)-0, 28-94(51), 74(57)-28; Akani Songsermsawad (Thai) bt Stephen McGuire (Sco) 58-56, 0-112 (112), 17-71, 62-50, 102(50)-0, 42-52, 65-0; Yu De Lu (Chn) bt Robert Milkins (Eng) 26-67, 56-50, 0-69, 60(55)-6, 78-73(64), 0-86(73), 67-18; Michael Holt (Eng) bt Ian Preece (Wal) 0-93(83), 73(60)-58(51), 1-85(84), 91(69)-1, 75(75)-27, 60-0; Mark Allen (NIR) bt Niu Zhuang (Chn) 88-5, 88(83)-7, 89(89)-0, 79(79)-18; John Higgins (Sco) bt Zhao Xintong (Chn) 6-85 (73), 18-82 (78), 77 (77)-8, 89 (88)-0, 67-62 (60), 38-66 (60), 94 (87)-16.