Despite having won the big snooker event twice, the Scot has never really excelled, and his 6-4, first-round defeat by Graeme Dott a year ago was almost par for the course.
However, Higgins eased to a 6-2 win against Stevens yesterday at the event's new home, Alexandra Palace.
Having shone in front of a 1,500 crowd, the man from Wishaw said he felt more at home at 'Ally Pally'.
"I was nervous, it's the first competitive snooker I've played since the UK Championships last month," he said. "But this place gets a big thumbs up from me."