Snooker: John Higgins aims to refocus after defeat in Australia

WORLD champion John Higgins admits he "needs to knuckle down" after his shock first-round elimination from the Australian Goldfields Open in Bendigo.

Having taken a 4-1 lead, the Scot lost 5-4 to Matthew Selt, a player who has never previously been beyond the last 32 of a ranking tournament. Higgins was also one half of the Scottish team who suffered a World Cup quarter-final loss to Northern Ireland, and after yesterday's setback he hinted at a lack of focus since his Crucible success in May.

"I'm disappointed but maybe it's because I haven't put in the hours practising since winning the World Championship," he said. "It doesn't matter if you're world champion or world number 300, you need to put the work in and if you don't, you don't get anywhere.

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"I've not started the season yet. It's only been a short time since the end of the last one and I've been spending it with my family but I need to knuckle down."

After losing the first frame, Higgins seemed to take charge by claiming the following four to take a commanding 4-1 lead. However, 26-year-old Selt showed fighting spirit to turn the match on its head and win four in a row himself despite only managing a highest break of 63.

A delighted Selt, who now faces seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry in the last 16, said: "I knew I could compete at this level and, career-wise, beating John is a great achievement. I've just won my first match on TV and now I feel like a proper player. If I play well this week I can go all the way and this has given me belief that I can do it."

Ali Carter was another player to fall victim to an upset, losing 5-3 to Marcus Campbell despite leading 2-0 after a sparkling 134 in frame two. The England World Cup player also had an explanation for his exit and said: "Don't get me wrong, it's great we have all these tournaments, but I can't wait to get home to be honest. I've a boy who is 18 months old and I've not seen him for three weeks so that's more important to me, to get home and be with my family."

Neil Robertson, the 2009 world champion, ensured a continued presence in the tournament for the host nation after defeats for World Cup team-mate Steve Mifsud and his namesake James. Robertson beat Nigel Bond 5-2 and said: "I'm relieved to get through. It would've been a disaster if all three Australians had gone out in the first two days."

In the day's other games Mark Allen saw off Wales' Ryan Day 5-3 in a high-quality encounter. Dominic Dale beat Steve Mifsud 5-2, also in the last 32, while Rory McLeod was thrashed 5-1 by Shaun Murphy in the last 16.

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