Welsh Open: Mark Williams survives scare against Kishan Hirani

Mark Williams has won 22 ranking titles during his career

World champion Mark Williams survived a scare to beat fellow Welshman Kishan Hirani 4-3 at the Welsh Open.

Williams had to work hard to beat Hirani, who is 120 places below him in the world rankings and in his first season as a professional.

Hirani, 26, took a 2-1 lead with a break of 126 before Williams secured victory in the decider in Cardiff.

Williams will be joined in the second round by defending champion John Higgins, who beat Graeme Dott 4-0.

“I could easily have lost that,” Williams said. “I’m happy to get through but I’ve got to play a lot better.”

Higgins will face Wales’ Dominic Dale, who advanced after a 4-2 win against China’s Li Yuan.

Jak Jones beat fellow Welshman Matthew Stevens 4-2 but Ryan Day is out after a 4-3 defeat against Thepchaiya Un-Nooh from Thailand.

Former world champion Shaun Murphy beat Adam Stefanow 4-1.

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