John Higgins overcame Tian Pengfei and a Crucible Theatre panic attack to secure a place in the last 16 of the World Championship.
The four-times world champion admitted he had "dodged a bullet" after winning the last six frames from 7-4 behind to complete a battling 10-7 win against China's world number 53.
As Tian appeared to visibly wilt under the pressure, Higgins held himself together superbly by producing closing breaks of 127 and 135 of to secure a meeting with Mark Williams or Sam Craigie in the last 16.
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But the Scotsman admitted the experience was far from memorable as he struggled to breathe among the balls.
Higgins makes 127 break to seize control of first-round match
“That was a whole range of what I’ve been through over 27 years here. Some good, some bad, some embarrassing. I’m delighted to get through, I dodged a big bullet there,” said Higgins, champion in 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2011.
“The first round is always the most pressurised game each year. That is what I always feel. When you get that out of the way, you can relax into the tournament.
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I was actually struggling to breathe at one point. I don’t know what happened, that’s just what this theatre does to you. I think I stopped breathing for a few frames, but it was good to get through.
“When you are struggling mentally it is tough. I’ll take the positives. I finished it off pretty decently with a couple of 100 breaks. I’ll try to grasp on to that and get a couple of days practising in.”
The Players champion headed back to Scotland to practise before returning to Sheffield for a potential rematch of his 2018 world final clash with Williams, which the Welshman won 18-16, on Friday.
"If I can play well I have a chance, but if I play to that standard I have no chance," he added.
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