London, Jan 14 (IANS) John Higgins edged out Liang Wenbo 6-4 while Neil Robertson thrashed a virus-stricken Marco Fu 6-0 in the first round of the snooker Masters.
Higgins, winning three ranking titles last year, made three centuries and two more breaks over 70 against Liang here on Wednesday. Masters debutant Liang had a clear chance to force a deciding frame but a missed green in the tenth frame proved his last shot, reports Xinhua.
Two-time champion Higgins, playing his 22nd consecutive Masters since 1995, will next play world champion Stuart Bingham on Friday while Robertson meets Judd Trump on the same day.
Liang said: “I enjoyed the match very much. John played very well today – if I gave him the first chance, I always thought he would take it. He scored very heavily. I didn’t play badly but I just lost concentration a little bit. I should have won the last frame but the table is terrible.”
Fu suffered illness on Tuesday night and was clearly struggling throughout the match and managed a top break of just 45.
World number three Robertson took full advantage, dominating from the start and rattled in breaks of 106, 57, 73 and 54 in a comfortable win.
Fu said: “I feel sorry for the fans who bought tickets for tonight because I’m sure they were looking forward to it, and that’s what they got. I feel sorry for Neil too because it must have put him off.”
“It’s very disappointing for me. Last night I was sick a few times, and the way I was feeling I was thinking of pulling out, but it’s the Masters and that’s the last thing you want to do. Even if I had only one arm I’d keep playing.”
“It was impossible to play and I didn’t believe that I could win. I take nothing away from Neil because he played well and I might have lost anyway, but perhaps 6-4 rather than 6-0,” he added.