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Four-time world champion John Higgins suffered an early exit at the Championship League in Leicester, but Gary Wilson reached the last 32 as Group 6 winner.

Higgins dominated his first match in Group 9 on Monday with a 3-0 win over Artemijs Zizins seeing the Scotsman produce breaks of 95, 74 and 120 at the Mattioli Arena.

But he then lost 3-0 to Ben Mertens, who rolled in breaks of 68, 86 and 82, with a closing 2-2 draw against section winner Ma Hailong not enough as the 20-year-old Chinese player produced a break of 111 to help him edge out Higgins and Mertens by a point.

But Scottish and Welsh Open champion Wilson completed wins over Huang Jiahao (3-0) and Michael Holt (3-1), with a 2-2 draw against Joe Perry enough to see the Wallsend potter finish two points ahead of Perry.

Seven-time world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan is set to begin his first competitive action of the campaign in Group 2 against Kayden Brierley, Mitchell Mann and He Guoqiang on Tuesday with Jack Lisowski facing Anton Kazakov, Jiang Jun and Mark Davis in Group 12.

Stage one consists of 32 groups of four players. The eight group winners contest a further two groups with the winners meeting in the final.

There is £33,000 on the table for the winner plus a spot in the Champion of Champions later in the year which is worth another £12,500 for qualifying.

Championship League: Latest group winners

  • Group 21: Neil Robertson (AUS)
  • Group 11: Ryan Day (WAL)
  • Group 4: Mark Williams (WAL)
  • Group 17: Chris Wakelin (ENG)
  • Group 25: Matthew Stevens (WAL)
  • Group 31: Ashley Carty (ENG)
  • Group 23: Michael White (WAL)
  • Group 22: Joe O’Connor (ENG)
  • Group 10: Jackson Page (WAL)
  • Group 32: Thepchaiya Un-Nooh (THA)
  • Group 30: Jamie Jones (WAL)
  • Group 29: Ben Woollaston (ENG)
  • Group 8: Jak Jones (WAL)
  • Group 7: Robbie McGuigan (NI)
  • Group 24: Martin O’Donnell (Eng)
  • Group 28: Wu Yize (CHN)
  • Group 26: Alexander Ursenbacher (SUI)
  • Group 27: David Lilley (ENG)
  • Group 1: Scott Donaldson (SCO)
  • Group 14: Hossein Vafaei (IRN)
  • Group 18: Stuart Bingham (ENG)
  • Group 13: Si Jiahui (CHN)
  • Group 20: Stuart Carrington (ENG)
  • Group 19: Long Zehuang (CHN)
  • Group 6: Gary Wilson (ENG)
  • Group 9: John Higgins (SCO)
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