EPTC5: Higgins back in the groove

Rankings will be updated at the close of play this evening…

All eyes were on the returning John Higgins yesterday in Hamm as fans wondered what sort of form he would be in on his first match in over six months against Joe Jogia, but so far at least it is like he has never been away. Click below for a more and a link to all the latest results from Hamm…

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Having not played competitively for so long I was not convinced that John would make a winning return to the table this weekend but with victories over Joe Jogia, Dave Harold and most impressively against the in-form Martin Gould, the Scot has shown already that he is here to win. There may be a long way to go and the real test will come at the venues against the best players in the world with all eyes on him, but it is a case of so far so good for the three-time world champion.

Next up for John will be Tom Ford, the winner of a PTC event already this season and an emphatic 4-0 winner over Ken Doherty yesterday. Since that PTC win Tom has dropped off the radar somewhat, like a few PTC winners this season funnily enough, but this might just be the event that sees him back at the sharp end once again. Higgins will have to play well to beat him.

Another previous PTC winner returning to form was Barry Pinches, the early season leader of the order of merit who defeated Luca Brecel and Welshman Ryan Day to make it through to Sunday’s last 16 stage.

Others through include Ricky Walden, Anthony Hamilton and Graeme Dott, the latter having inflicted yet another first round defeat on Reanne Evans as well as seeing off Stuart Bingham in a deciding frame.

Notable losers? Mark Davis who has been in such good form recently blew a 3-0 lead against young Belgian Luca Brecel in the first round while Jimmy White was surprisingly whitewashed by Rod Lawler who was then himself a 4-0 loser against Robert Milkins. Still, at least they turned up, Ali Carter and Stephen Hendry being amongst those not to make the flight over.

I shall update the rankings in full tonight once the last 16 has been confirmed.