Sam Baird shocks former champion John Higgins in Welsh Open first round
World number 48 Sam Baird shocked former Welsh Open winner John Higgins 4-2 in the first round of the event in Cardiff.
Higgins was punished for a sluggish start to the match at the city's Motorpoint Arena, losing the opening three frames despite Baird's highest break being only 71 in the first frame.
Higgins - winner of the Welsh Open in 1999, 2010, 2011 and 2014 - stayed alive by winning the fourth and fifth frames, an 81 more like the form that saw him win the China Championship and Champion of Champions tournament in November.
But the Scotsman was finallly forced to accept a surprise early loss when he missed a red to a centre pocket after Baird had ran in 51.
The Englishman pieced together enough points to scramble over the line a year after he had lost 4-0 to four-times world champion Higgins in the last 64.
But six-times World Championship finalist Jimmy White could not complete a shock win in his opening match as he fell to a 4-1 defeat to Neil Robertson.
2010 world champion Robertson opened with a break of 102 only for White to level at 1-1 with a splendid 102 of his own.
That only prompted Robertson to raise his game as knocks of 111, 54 and 57 secured his progress to the last 64.
Welsh teenager Jackson Page made an astonishing debut at the event winning his match on a re-spotted black to complete a 4-3 success against Jason Weston.
Elsewhere, 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham beat Matthew Stevens 4-2 in round one of the Welsh Open.
Bingham, 40, put together runs of 101, 59 and 64 on his way to the overcoming the former Masters winner - now ranked world number 41 - and will face Gary Wilson or Rory McLeod in round two.
There was better news for Stevens' fellow Welshman Dominic Dale, who was a resounding 4-0 winner against Zhang Anda.
Cope, currently ranked 74 in the world, sandwiched two hard-fought frames with runs of 56 and 50 to progress to the next round.
Latest Welsh Open first round results (Round of 128)
- Li Hang 2-4 Mark Davis
- Akani Songsermsawad 2-4 Chris Wakelin
- Scott Donaldson 4-1 Jack Lisowski
- Paul S Davison 4-0 Joe Swai
- Mark Joyce 3-4 Ross Muir
- Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 4-0 Ben Woollaston
- Jamie Cope 4-0 Nigel Bond
- Dominic Dale 4-0 Zhang Anda
- Fergal O'Brien 4-1 Cao Yupeng
- Jimmy Robertson 4-3 Aditya Mehta
- Michael Wild 3-4 Adam Stefanow
- Rhys Clark 2-4 Lee Walker
- Hatem Yassen 1-4 Alex Borg
- Jackson Page 4-3 Jason Weston
- Stuart Bingham 4-2 Matthew Stevens
- Michael Georgiou 1-4 Allan Taylor
- John J Astley 4-1 Ian Preece
- John Higgins 2-4 Sam Baird
- Fang Xiongman 1-4 Kurt Mafflin
- Kyren Wilson 2-4 Sean O'Sullivan
- Dechawat Poomjaeng 1-4 Darryl Hill
- Hossein Vafaei Ayouri 4-3 Sanderson Lam
- David Gilbert 3-4 Ryan Day
- Stephen Maguire 4-2 Zhang Yong
- Zhou Yuelong 4-0 Noppon Saengkham
- Neil Robertson 4-1 Jimmy White
- Tian Pengfei 4-2 Chen Zhe
- Luca Brecel 2-4 Anthony Hamilton
- Ricky Walden 3-4 Graeme Dott
- Jak Jones 2-4 Craig Steadman
- Ian Burns 4-3 James Cahill
- Shaun Murphy 4-0 Jamie Curtis-Barrett