John Higgins and Mark Selby were both left relieved after securing their berths in the third round of UK Championships in York.
World number four Higgins admitted he thought he was heading for the exit door when he fell 4-3 behind to Noppon Saengkham, ranked 73rd, but the in-form Scot rattled off three frames on the spin to move onto the next round at the Barbican Centre.
Higgins has won two titles within the past month but he thought that form was about to end, with lower-ranked players now more than ready to cause an upset.
“I dodged a bullet there, I’m just delighted to get through,” said two-time UK Champion Higgins. “I really did think I’d be heading up the road when I went 4-3 down. A lot of these boys are not frightened of top players any more.
I felt as if the luck had ran out but the luck’s still with me just now.” World champion Selby meanwhile recovered from 3-1 down against Daniel Wells to record a 6-3 success that included a brace of century breaks.
UK champions in 2012, Selby felt his concentration was not always what it should have been during the second round clash. The Jester says it is important not to burn too much mental energy in the early stages, if possible.
“It was a battle,” said Selby. “My focus dipped in and out. It is still the early stages of the tournament, I don’t want to peak too soon.”
Selby is 6.00 to win the UK Championship while Higgins is priced at 10.00 to triumph in York.