WORLD No4 Judd Trump eased past Jamie Burnett 4-1 at the BetVictor Welsh Open – and admitted he wants to make up for a recent German Masters final defeat to Ding Junhui.
This was precisely the sort of match the 24-year-old Trump was having trouble with in the early part of the season, as he suffered a series of early tournament exits.
But the world No4 has turned things around in the past two months and despite feeling the Newport event is taking a while to get going is benefiting from a confidence almost fully restored.
After reaching the last 32 Trump said: “Jamie could have pinched the first frame despite the fact I was in complete control of it, and that was the pattern of the season before Christmas.
“But I really felt in control the whole game, as I have for most of my last 15 or so matches apart from a lapse in the final in Germany against Ding.
“Jamie played a plant at 2-1 down that was really risky, the sort of shot I would have played when I was a lot younger.
“I am not thinking or over-analysing any more, just playing it more on instinct.
“It is hard work just to get to the last 32 and so long, it is a bit weird with the best of sevens. It just feels like nothing has happened so far.
“The first couple of rounds feel like a waste of time and you want to get into the quarters as easily as possible. If I play like I did against Kyren Wilson in the first match I could get to the final.
“You have to be careful about saying you will do this or that but I am back to controlling games, scoring heavily, and somewhere near my best.
“I was gutted to lose the Berlin final, so it would be nice to come through here and maybe play Ronnie O’Sullivan.”
John Higgins whitewashed another former world champion Ken Doherty 4-0 to take his place in the last 32 and gain revenge for defeat to the Irishman in the first round in Wales last year.
World No10 Higgins, badly out of touch in recent months and struggling with a new cue, said: “Over these short distances the little bits of luck can help you.
“I got them tonight and Ken didn’t. He beat me convincingly here last year so it was good to get a bit of revenge, it was a role reversal.
“Every win helps build the confidence, so that is very welcome and the main thing. The cue seems okay, I am not 100 per cent confident in it but more so the more I play.
“I have a day off now and play either Mark King or Alan McManus on Wednesday – I would rather play my fellow Scot Alan, but we’ll see.”
Wales suffered their first defeat of the day when Michael White lost 4-3 to Shanghai Masters finalist Xiao Guodong.
Photographs by Monique Limbos