John Higgins and Ding Junhui earn comfortable victories but Judd Trump is pegged back

Four-time World Champion John Higgins held off a rejuvenated Martin Gould on day four at the Crucible, whilst Ding Junhui also comfortably progressed against Zhou Yuelong.

However, pre-tournament favourite Judd Trump finds himself 5-4 behind to Rory McLeod despite leading 4-0 at the mid-session interval.

Gould revival is not enough

Higgins had given himself an excellent platform to build upon with a 7-2 lead against dark horse Gould. Yet the World number 18 practised late into the evening on Monday and would have been buoyed by Marco Fu's comeback on the main stage just next door to the practise tables.

Gould developed some much-needed momentum of his own, winning the opening two frames of the second session, formulating a break of 108 in the process.

However, that spell required further frame victories and Higgins had the nous to build telling breaks of his own at crucial times. The duo went on to exchange frames over the next five, with winning half century breaks in all of them, including a mammoth 127 from the Scotsman.

A break of 82 in what was to be the final frame took Higgins into double figures for compilations during the match as he eased to a 10-6 victory and set up a second round tie with Mark Allen.

Ding Junhui had made three centuries on his way to a 7-2 overnight lead against Zhou Yuelong but struggled to match the same intensity in the second helping of action.

Yuelong earned a confidence-boosting opening two frames of 60 and 93, only for Ding to respond with a 67. Two scrappy frames followed with both Chinese players taking one apiece and Ding edged a frame away from victory. A break of 68 in frame 15 followed as the World number four completed a 10-5 success.

Ding could afford a smile after overcoming his first obstacle (photo: Getty Images)
Ding could afford a smile after overcoming his first obstacle (photo: Getty Images)

Trump and Carter in trouble

Midway through his contest with Rory McLeod, World number two Judd Trump would have been expecting to put his feet up overnight with a second round place almost certain.

Trump cruised to a 4-0 lead with breaks of 55 and 54  before the interval. Yet McLeod has plenty of experience and registered on the scoresheet with a break of 72. He then put himself back in the tie with two tactical victories before a final two frames resulted in Trump not potting the ball and the World number 54 ending the day with a break of 77 and a slender 5-4 lead.

Former World Champion Graeme Dott rolled back the years to hold an overnight advantage over Ali Carter. Dott established a 4-0 lead without converting a break over 50, winning three of those frames by 26 points or less.

Carter established a response after the interval with two frames of his own, making the first half-century of the match with a 53 in frame five. However, Dott struck back again with 50 of his own before sealing the last frame of the session to hold a 6-3 lead.