THE few remaining big guns left in the Indian Open chose Thursday night to fire in Mumbai to maintain some sense of order at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
With the notable absentees, withdrawals and those afflicted by visa issues there remains plenty of scope for players to achieve career milestones this week.
But proven winners came to the fore in the latter matches of the last-32 stage, with John Higgins, Mark Williams, Ricky Walden and Judd Trump all making it through to the last 16.
Both the last-16 and subsequent quarter-final matches will be played on Friday.
Higgins, going for a 27th ranking title and back to back successes after his win in Wales, beat Jamie Cope 4-2 and will now play Mark Davis – something of a bogeyman for him in recent meetings.
Reigning Australian Open champion and UK and Champion of Champions runner-up Trump made hard work of seeing off close friend Adam Duffy but eventually won 4-3.
He will now play Mark Williams, fresh from his semi-final run in Cardiff and playing some of his best snooker for years, who pulled out a 127 in the decider to see off Peter Ebdon 4-3.
And this season’s International Championship winner Walden ended the hopes of home hero Aditya Mehta with a 4-2 victory. He will now face China’s Tian Pengfei.
An intriguing sub-plot is developing in Williams’ quarter of the draw, where two of the players trying to catch him in the race to automatically be at the Crucible play each other on Friday in Graeme Dott and Rob Milkins.
But elsewhere there are chances for many to get as far or further than they have ever done in a major ranking tournament.
Opportunity knocks for Milkins, Michael White, Li Hang, Chris Wakelin, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Jamie Jones, Kyren Wilson and Pengfei.
Photograph by Monique Limbos