World Championship Snooker: John Higgins falls at first hurdle to Alan McManus
John Higgins was sent packing from the Crucible at the earliest possible stage after a 10-7 defeat to Alan McManus.
Last Updated: 22/04/14 11:24pm
A second successive first-round loss at the Dafabet World Championship for Higgins came on the back of a misfiring performance, as his fightback came too late to hand McManus, whose tartan trousers caught the eye, a shot at Ken Doherty in the last 16.
World number two Ding Junhui was edged out in a final-frame decider late on Monday night by little-known qualifier Michael Wasley, and now Higgins follows China's great hope out of the tournament, another big name gone.
McManus said he "just fell over the line", but it was a victory the 1994 Masters champion toiled for and carries him into the second round for the first time since 2005.
Higgins had taken the final two frames of their opening session on Monday to slow the charge of McManus, cutting his arrears to 6-3 overnight, but any momentum he might have felt failed to influence his performance on the resumption.
It was Mark Davis taking out Higgins last year, with this time McManus the man bossing a last-32 tussle against the man who won three of his world titles in a scorching spell from 2007 to 2011.
A fluked red gave Higgins the impetus to stop the early morning rot and get back to 8-4, and after losing the next to go one frame away from defeat he belatedly found some vintage form, with the 38-year-old making 111, 67 and 94 in closing the gap to 9-7.
McManus, 43, trailed in the next frame too, but Higgins missed the blue when he looked like going just one frame behind and his good friend seized the unexpected match-winning chance.
Trump grinds on
In the afternoon session, Judd Trump took a 6-2 lead over Tom Ford without having to be anywhere near his fluent best.
The four frames before the mid-session interval were shared, with Trump's 62 in frame three representing the highest break of a scrappy session.
Ford showed patches of fluency but at times looked overwhelmed by the Crucible stage, exemplified when he lost the frame after the interval despite being in first with a break of 48.
That was in excess of Trump's top contribution after the interval, a 40 in frame seven, but the Bristolian took four in a row before suffering the unusual fate for him of being taken off one frame early to make way for the evening matches.
On the other table, Barry Hawkins also struggled early on before battling to a 5-4 lead over qualifier David Gilbert.
The world number four's best break before the interval was just 29 as he trailed 3-1, Gilbert with a 77 in frame two.
A 72 in the first frame back helped Hawkins find his form and though Gilbert took the next with a 56, breaks of 72, 115 and 69 gave Hawkins a slender lead to take into Wednesday morning's concluding session.
In a rather lacklustre evening session, Mark Allen established a 5-4 lead over Michael Holt.
Holt looked all set to build a 5-3 lead but missed a simple brown in frame eight and that allowed former semi-finalist Allen to tie the match up at 4-4 and then take the last frame to edge in front.