John Higgins finished off Stephen Lee tonight to pass his first test at the Betfred.com World Championship.
The 35-year-old from Wishaw briefly came under pressure when Lee fought back from 8-3 to 8-5 at the mid-session interval, but breaks of 74 and 81 saw him make sure of his place in the second round.
Higgins led 6-3 from the first session, in which he made three centuries, and added his fourth of the match immediately on the resumption to stretch his lead.
When the Scot increased his lead to five frames, Lee looked forlorn in his seat. But the Trowbridge potter began to make inroads when a break of 101 gave him the next frame, and he looked to be playing well as he added the 13th.
It was imperative that Lee maintained such form on his return to the arena, but he left Higgins an easy starting red, and that proved a costly error. Higgins plundered a frame-winning break to leave himself one away from victory, and although a missed red meant he missed out on a fifth century in the match at the end, a solid opening victory was secure.
Higgins now takes on Rory McLeod, the man accused by his first-round victim Ricky Walden of utilising ``painful'' tactics which would kill the game if every player adopted them.
Earlier, Mark Selby, very much in the band of players being touted as potential champions, completed a 10-1 victory over Crucible rookie Jimmy Robertson.
He faces Stephen Hendry in the second round but will not fear the seven-time champion, having beaten him at the same stage last year.