John Higgins continued to set the pace at the Championship League as he finished Friday's action as the Group 3 leader at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Higgins looks to be in fine form as he prepares for his opening match at the Masters against Mark Allen on Wednesday night at the same venue.
The four-times world champion watched Chinese opponent Zhao Xintong make his highest break as a professional with a sparkling 144 in the second frame on Friday after winning the opener with a run of 72.
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Higgins restored parity at 2-2 with breaks of 71 and 68 before world number 28 Zhao dominated the decider for a 3-2 victory.
Higgins recovered strongly for the rest of the day as he completed a 3-1 win over Scott Donaldson, a 3-2 victory over Tom Ford and 3-0 success against Matthew Selt.
Mark Selby – who meets Stephen Maguire in his Masters opener on Tuesday evening – started his day with a 3-1 win over Zhao, who compiled 110 in the second frame.
The three-times world champion lost 3-0 to Ford – who made breaks of 56, 51, 89 and 131 in a formidable scoring performance – before enjoying a 3-0 win over world championship finalist Kyren Wilson as he contributed classy breaks of 73 and 137.
Ford, Selby, Zhao and Wilson end the day a point behind Higgins with Selt bottom of the table with three defeats before Saturday's action.
The top four in the section will progress to the last four with the bottom two dropping out of the event. The winner of the Group 3 final progresses to the winners' group between March 31-1 April.
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