John Higgins bowed out in the opening round of the World Grand Prix following a 4-2 defeat by Tom Ford in Coventry on Tuesday.
The four-time World champion arrived at the Coventry Building Society Arena fresh from reaching the Scottish Open showpiece, which he lost 9-5 to an inspired Luca Brecel.
That marked the Wizard’s fourth final of a consistent season, which has also seen him narrowly miss out on the Northern Ireland Open, English Open and Champion of Champions crowns.
However, he was unable to build on that momentum; joining Zhao Xintong, Kyren Wilson and Mark Williams by falling at the first hurdle after suffering only a second defeat in 13 meetings with Ford.
Despite being pegged back twice, the former Paul Hunter Classic finalist maintained his composure with breaks of 71 and 130 – the highest of the tournament so far – sealing an impressive win.
Next up for Ford is three-time champion Judd Trump, who recovered from 2-1 down to see off former Welsh Open runner-up Ben Woollaston 4-2.
Meanwhile, despite a top break of only 51, World champion Mark Selby took advantage against a lacklustre Barry Hawkins to defeat the 2017 winner 4-1.
The Jester set up a second-round showdown with Northern Ireland Open winner Mark Allen, who had runs of 114 and 79 on the way to beating two-time ranking event finalist Cao Yupeng by the same scoreline.
Neil Robertson – a winner of this event in 2020 – hit breaks of 100, 65 and 54 in a 4-0 whitewash of Noppon Saengkham, while former UK champion Stephen Maguire also reeled off four frames without reply against fellow Glaswegian Anthony McGill – avenging his 5-3 defeat in the Scottish Open quarter-finals last week.
After being pegged back by Ricky Walden to 3-3 from 3-1 up, former World champion Stuart Bingham produced a timely break of 124 in the decider and will now play two-time Crucible finalist Ali Carter, who overcame Championship League winner David Gilbert 4-1.
World Grand Prix Snooker 2021 Day Two Results
Tuesday December 14
Barry Hawkins 1-4 Mark Selby
Ricky Walden 3-4 Stuart Bingham
John Higgins 2-4 Tom Ford
David Gilbert 1-4 Ali Carter
Judd Trump 4-2 Ben Woollaston
Anthony McGill 0-4 Stephen Maguire
Neil Robertson 4-0 Noppon Saengkham
Mark Allen 4-1 Cao Yupeng