Snooker

John Higgins eases through to last 16 at UK Championship

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Four-time world champion John Higgins moved into the last 16 of the UK Championship in York with a 6-2 victory over Matthew Stevens.

Higgins started brightly, taking two of the first three frames before snatching the fourth on the final black to carry a 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval. He stretched his advantage to three frames courtesy of a superb 128 break, and won a scrappy sixth to lead 5-1.

The Welshman, Stevens briefly threatened a revival by taking the seventh, but Higgins made breaks of 52 and 22 in the next frame to ensure the win.

The 39-year-old from Wishaw has won the event three times with his last triumph coming in 2010.

Higgins will now face fellow Scot Anthony McGill in the last 16 after he edged out Nigel Bond 6-5, compiling a break of 76 in the deciding frame.

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However, Ireland's Ken Doherty suffered a heavy 6-1 defeat to Ricky Walden. After dropping the first three frames, Doherty managed to get a foothold in the match by taking the fourth, but surrendered a good chance in the fifth frame to fall 4-1 behind.

Walden, who recently won the International Championship in China was ruthless, and closed out the match with brilliant centuries of 129 and 128.

Walden's fourth round match will be against either world number nine Stuart Bingham, or youngster Joel Walker.

HAT-TRICK OF CENTURIES

Former UK champion Judd Trump hit three centuries in a 6-3 win over Fraser Patrick. After taking the first frame with a break of 85, Trump excelled with back-to-back tons of 129 and 130 to hold a commanding 4-0 lead at the interval. 

Patrick valiantly reduced his arrears to 4-2, but the 25-year-old Trump ultimately proved too strong, closing out the match with a classy 104 break. His next opponent will be either Mark Allen - who he beat in the 2011 final - or Englishman Rod Lawler.

World number seven Shaun Murphy survived a fightback from Jack Lisowski to progress to the round for with a tight 6-4 win. Efforts of 93 and 99 aided Murphy to a 4-1 lead, but a determined Lisowski managed to close the gap to 5-4. The 2005 world champion's experience eventually showed through, with a 62 break in the 10th frame enough to secure a last 16 berth against Marco Fu. 

Fu, meanwhile, fought to a 6-3 win over Thailand's Dechawat Poomjaeng, making a highest break of 85.

In Monday's other third round matches, David Morris backed up a fine win over Mark Selby with another impressive performance against David Gilbert, winning 6-2. Either Mark Williams or Stephen Maguire will await Morris in the last 16.

Matthew Selt won his second consecutive match past midnight, this time running out a 6-4 victor over Rory McLeod. Selt's fourth round match will be against either Ronnie O'Sullivan or Ben Woollaston. 

ROBERTSON FACES EBDON TEST

Defending champion Neil Robertson is promised a tough third round match on Tuesday afternoon against 2002 world champion Peter Ebdon. Elsewhere Ronnie O'Sullivan takes on Ben Woollaston, with Ding Junhui due to face James Cahill.

In another exciting third round encounter, Mark Williams, a champion in 1999 and 2002, plays 2004 winner Stephen Maguire in the evening session.

TUESDAY'S OTHER LAST 32 MATCHES

Robert Milkins vs Graeme Dott
Joel Walker vs Stuart Bingham
Joe Perry vs Mark Davis
Rod Lawler vs Mark Allen

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Topics:
UK Championship
Ronnie O'Sulivan
Judd Trump
Shaun Murphy
Snooker
Ding Junhui
John Higgins

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