Higgins, the four-time world champion, suffered a 5-2 defeat to Robert Milkins despite starting with a break of 127 in the opening frame.

It was a chastening defeat for Higgins in the world ranking event in Bendigo as Milkins wrapped up victory in the seventh frame.

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"I always seem to play well against John, maybe because I know how good he is," said Milkins. "I can accept it when he's potting balls, whereas against other players if I'm losing I sometimes get down on myself.

“If he had won the seventh frame he could have come back at me so I was pleased to finish it off."

Maguire’s defeat was even more comprehensive as he suffered a 5-0 whitewash against Wales’ Jamie Jones, who only mustered top breaks of 76 and 61 to win.

"I knew it was a tough draw against Stephen," said 2012 World Championship quarter-finalist Jones. "In the first frame I missed a red and left him in the balls, but then he missed a similar red and I capitalised.

“That seemed to change the game and I went on from there. I played very well and he couldn't seem to get going. I felt as if I was in control right the way through."

Donaldson was roundly beaten by the same 5-0 scoreline against Stuart Bingham, who made a break of 102 en route to securing his progress in the event.

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