The Barbican Centre, York - 3-11 December 2011
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UPDATED DRAW & RESULTS - PHOTOS FROM MONIQUE LIMBOS
UK Championship 2011 - Last 16 Results
Stephen Maguire 6-4 John Higgins
First man through on Tuesday was Stephen Maguire who beat fellow Scot and practice partner John Higgins 6-4 in their match. John was the defending champion so the pressure was definitely on him but it was all Stephen who powered to a 5-1 lead which included a top break of 144, the highest of the UK Championship so far (worth £5,000 if it holds). John being the great champion he is though gave Stephen a right old scare as he came back to only 5-4 behind but it wasn't to be as the former UK Champion came through in the decider.
It's great to see Stephen playing well again, since reaching the Welsh Open final earlier in the year he has done little of note and his talent deserves a lot more in the game than he has achieved currently.
Stephen - "I was lucky he missed the black in the last frame, otherwise he was odds-on to clear up and come back to win 6-5. I was gone - the game can get to you sometimes. I should have won 6-2, the balls were easy for me. After that I started getting frustrated.
"In the early part of the match I scored heavily and my long potting was good. I just struggled to get over the line in the end. Judd Trump is playing well and I'll be the underdog again." Player quotes courtesy of World Snooker.
Judd Trump 6-5 Ronnie O'Sullivan
Stephen will face none other than the hot new young talent Judd Trump who upset favourite Ronnie O'Sullivan 6-5 in an exciting clash between the two popular players. A packed audience were treated to a feast of top snooker with nine breaks of 50 in the match. It was nip and tuck the whole way throughout as neither player ran away taking more than a one frame lead, eventually it went down to the deciding frame and Ronnie had a chance to clear for a respotted black but a kick caused him to lose position and miss the penultimate black gifting Judd the match.
Judd was fortunate enough to come through his first round match against against Dominic Dale as we was aided by two mad flukes in the last frame he needed but today he performed well to dispatch the Rocket, who once again threatened retirement in the near future.
Judd - "It was a great atmosphere in the arena, there's always a good buzz when you play Ronnie. The crowd are on his side a lot, but they get you up for it. It wasn't pretty, but I'm just delighted to still be in the tournament. Normally when you play like that against Ronnie you get beat. I'm looking forward to my next game now, it's always great to be in the latter stages of these big tournaments."
Ding Junhui 6-5 Matthew Stevens
Masters champion Ding Junhui came through his second consecutive 6-5 victory against Matthew Stevens yesterday. China's no.1 had a close encounter with Mark Davis last week and had to dig deep to win against the Welshman. In the deciding frame Matthew could only make a 24 before missing a simple black of its spot, Ding swiftly took advantage and ran home a winner with a tidy 62 break to come through.
Ding is a two-times UK Champion already and one of those was in York so he definitely seems comfortable here. He hasn'y had the greatest season so far so he could use a boost going in to his defence of the Masters next month in London where he faces Ronnie O'Sullivan in the opening round.
Neil Robertson 6-3 Graeme Dott
Ding's opponent in the quarter-finals will be the only other player from outside the UK in the top 16, Neil Robertson who came through in a scrappy encounter 6-3 against Graeme Dott. In a repeat of their 2010 World Championship final it wasn't the highest quality of matches as both players struggled for any sort of fluency.
Neil performed very well in his opening match against Tom Ford and I think against Ding he will really pick up the pace and perform a lot stronger. Already with two PTC titles this season he is the man in form and I tipped him at the start of the event to pick up his maiden UK title.
Neil - "Last year I played great in my first two matches then lost, so at least this time I can only get better. Ding's temperament has improved a lot over the last couple of years. In the past you could play a lot of safety and slow him down, and he'd get fed up and start smashing the balls around - but not any more."
Ricky Walden 6-3 Mark Williams
First major shock of the tournament came from Chester's Ricky Walden who saw off Mark Williams 6-3 in the first of Wednesday's matches at the Barbican. Mark had reached the finals of the first two major ranking events of the season and was expected to come through against the former Shanghai Masters champion but it wasn't to be as the Welsh Potting Machine saw himself flattened by the Stamina Man. Ricky raced to a 3-1 lead going in to the interval but Mark came back strong to level at 3-3.
Mark who recently joined Twitter was even going out between frames to Tweet between matches. But in the end it was Ricky who got the best of the man from Wales who won the next three frames with breaks of 58, 53 and a 56 in the final frame thanks to an excellent pink. It's good to see Ricky perform well on the big stage again as he had the season from hell last year, lets hope he can do himself justice.
Ricky - "I'm very pleased to beat someone as good as Mark and get to my first (BBC) quarter-final - I'm over the moon. Obviously the pressure came back on me when I went 3-0 up. He managed to nick the next frame and went on a bit of a roll himself. I just had to trust my game because I know how well I've been playing I'm always confident in my own game - you've just got to hope that on the day it turns up. Thankfully today it did."
Shaun Murphy 6-4 Martin Gould
Ricky will play the 2008 UK Champion Shaun Murphy in the quarter-finals. The Magician came through 6-4 in an exciting match against Martin Gould that at one point looked to be turning in the favour of the Pinner Potter. Shaun wasted little time in establishing a 5-0 lead with the help of breaks of 86 and 102. Martin hit back straight away with a 133 and stole the next frame after Shaun missed the match pink. Back in the 10th frame with Martin only 5-4 behind now there was a tense battle on the final red and colours with both players failing to take their chances.
In the end Shaun got in off a great long yellow and a terrific brown tight on the top cushion followed to help him on his way to win the match. Shaun won the PTC Grand Finals last season and won the Brazilian Masters this season so has had a few big wins recently to draw from. The 2005 world champion will be going in to the match against Ricky Walden as favourite but it could easily go either way.
Shaun - "I'm very, very pleased to have got through and when it mattered I managed to keep my composure. No disrespect to Martin but I played well in the first four frames and against anyone I would have been 3-1 or 4-0 up. My mistake was that I didn't carry that on after the interval and missed one ball and the game turned.
"I've really worked hard to keep my cool and keep my head together and make very clear decisions. I was unlucky a few times with a few kicks and bad bounces but I can't do anything about that. It's taken me 21 years of playing the game to understand that you can only worry about the things you can control.
Mark Allen 6-2 Ali Carter (Photo - Monique Limbos)
Mark Allen the world no.14 from Northern Ireland came through in the biggest margin of the second round, a 6-2 win over higher seed Ali Carter. The man from Antrim recently got in to hot water due to recent comments about snooker's chaiman Barry Hearn so it was going to be hard to predict how he would play tonight but he came through strongly against The Captain. Breaks of 78 and 101 helped allen to a 3-1 lead at the interval and Ali would only go on to secure one more frame as The Pistol came out as the clear winner.
Say what you want about Mark, he is one of the games great characters and the snooker world would be a more boring place without him. He had never progressed past the semi-finals of a ranking event before, can he do it here at the Barbican? Ali meanwhile wasn't to happy after losing the match, he has threatened retirement, lets hope it was just a post-match feeling and we don't lose him, he is another great asset to the sport.
Marco Fu 6-3 Mark Selby
The last man through to the quarter-finals and Mark Allen's opponent is Hong Kong's Marco Fu who performed the upset of the tournament, beating the currenty Shanghai Masters champion Mark Selby 6-3. Mark had plenty of chances in the match but Marco performed extremely well which included top breaks of 52, 64 and a brilliant 85 in the final frame to send the world no.1 back home to Leicester.
Marco along with Ricky Walden are the only qualifiers to make it through to this stage and he nearly didn't even make it to York. In his final round qualifying match with Anthony Hamilton, it went down to a decider past midnight and Marco produced possibly the best clearance of his career to snatch it on the final few balls. If either him or Ricky went on to win the tournament they would win a wildcard to the Masters in January so that gives them even more incentive to do well.
Marco - "It was funny match, neither of us played played that great. He had a good chance to go 4-4 but he missed a few balls. I wasn't in control of the cue ball which is something I need to work on, but I made a couple of good clearances.
"It's the first time I have beaten Mark in a big tournament and it gives me a lot of confidence. Anyone can win this tournament, it's wide open."
UPDATED DRAW & RESULTS FOR THE UK CHAMPIONSHIP