Maguire keeps title hopes alive with superb comeback win

Stephen Maguire. Picture by Monique Limbos

Stephen Maguire. Picture by Monique Limbos

STEPHEN Maguire produced a brilliant backs to the wall display as he came back from 5-2 down to defeat Luca Brecel which kept alive his hopes of winning his second UK Championship title.

The Scot, who won this major event in 2004, appeared to be down and out when the talented Belgian potter took a significant three frame lead after the first seven frames.

But top breaks of 68, 50 and 91 helped Maguire to claim a thrilling 6-5 win and secure place in the third round of the competition.

The world number five will next face Liang Wenbo for a place in the last 16.

After the match a relived Maguire said: “I didn’t fancy that win at all at 5-2 down and just feel very relieved to have won it.

“In the last frame, he had the balls nice and I thought that was it.

“Wenbo was down and out a couple of years ago and slipping down the rankings but he seems to have got his game together and he’s a top player.”

Judd Trump and John Higgins had no such difficulty getting into the third round after recording easy wins. Trump thrashed Dechawat Poomjaeng 6-0 and Higgins brushed aside Rod Lawler with a 6-1 win.

Champion of Champions runner-up Stuart Bingham beat former UK Championship winner and crowd favourite Jimmy White 6-2 and Ding Junhui followed up his first round win over Antony Parsons with a 6-1 win over James Wattana.

Matthew Stevens, winner of this event ten years ago with victory over Stephen Hendry, edged through to the next round with a 6-5 win against Chinese player Yu Delu but there was no such joy for |Mark Davis who came out the wrong side of a final frame decider against impressive Scotsman Scott Donaldson.

Robert Milkins and Jamie Burnett also completed deciding frame wins against Liu Chuang and Chris Wakelin respectively.

Two-times World Championship winner Mark Williams eased through with a 6-3 win over Rory McLeod and this year’s Crucible semi-finalist Ricky Walden beat Peter Lines 6-2.

Mark Allen eased through with a 6-3 win over Dave Harold and Joe Perry, who reached the semi-finals of last month’s International Championship, kept up his impressive season beating Daniel Wells by the same score.

Elsewhere, Chinese player Li Hang secured a place in the last 32 of the UK Championship for the first time following a 6-4 win over Andrew Higginson and Scotland’s Anthony McGill hit breaks of 73, 77 and 103 in a 6-0 thumping of Chris Norbury.

And Stuart Carrington set up a potential third round clash against defending champion Mark Selby after beating John Astley 6-1 in the day’s final completed match.

Monday will see the likes of Selby, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Neil Robertson look to reach the third round while others will hope to book their place in the last 16 round.

UK Championship 2013 – Round Three draw (Last 32)

Mark SELBY/Tian PENGFEI vs Stuart CARRINGTON
Graeme DOTT vs Ali CARTER
Gary WILSON vs Barry HAWKINS
Noppon SAENGKHAM vs Shaun MURPHY
Judd TRUMP vs Xiao GUODONG
Mark ALLEN vs Michael HOLT
Mark WILLIAMS vs Ricky WALDEN
Fergal O’BRIEN vs Ding JUNHUI
Neil ROBERTSON/Robbie WILLIAMS vs Li HANG
Scott DONALDSON vs Joe PERRY
Jamie BURNETT vs John HIGGINS
Liang WENBO vs Stephen MAGUIRE
Mitchell TRAVIS/Kurt MAFLIN vs David MORRIS
Stuart BINGHAM vs Anthony McGILL
Matthew STEVENS vs Robert MILKINS
Marcus CAMPBELL vs Ronnie O’SULLIVAN/Adam DUFFY

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