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UK Snooker Championship 2017: Mark King beats John Higgins, Maguire knocks out Dott

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2017 UK Championship
Date: 28 Nov-10 Dec Venue: York Barbican
Coverage: Watch live across BBC Two, BBC Red Button, Connected TV, the BBC Sport website and mobile app from 2 December.

World number 21 Mark King won four of the last five frames to stun John Higgins 6-5 and reach the UK Championship quarter-finals in York.

Three-time champion Higgins, the fourth seed, led 4-2 and 5-4, but King’s battling qualities came to the fore to level and force a decider.

King clinched victory with a nerveless 69 – his highest break of the match – after several misses by the Scot.

Higgins said the manner of his defeat felt like “the beginning of the end.”

He is the the 13th player among the top-16 seeds to go out at the York Barbican and added: “There are just some things you can’t explain where you malfunction on every single shot and cannot pot a ball.

“When you collapse like that, there’s only way you’re going to go in this game.”

In the other afternoon match, Stephen Maguire beat Graeme Dott 6-2 in an all-Scottish contest.

Playing like a King

King, who won his first ranking event title last year at the age of 42, had not gone beyond the second round of the UK Championship since 2005 before his run this year.

The Essex potter’s spirited response to playing catch-up snooker seemed to get to an increasingly edgy opponent.

Higgins had pinched a seemingly pivotal fifth frame, achieving three snookers to edge ahead at 3-2, before winning the next frame

But King’s mental strength saw him through in the decider even after Higgins responded to being pegged back to 4-4.

King said: “I had a couple of bad shots at the beginning of the frame and broke off like I had never played before and John had a couple of chances.

“But with my first chance, I stayed positive and was in a pretty good position. I was pretty calm and confident and made sure I didn’t miss any easy balls. It’s nice to still be involved.”

Maguire wins Tartan tussle

Stephen Maguire

World number 20 Maguire said he played the best snooker of his run in the tournament during his comfortable last-16 win over Dott.

The 2004 champion sped to a 3-0 lead, with breaks of 72 and 57 in the first two frames.

Former world champion Dott responded with a frame-winning 70, but Maguire scored a magnificent 116 for a 4-1 advantage.

Dott’s second break of more than 50 gave him hope, before Maguire, 36, saw out an increasingly scrappy last two frames to reach his ninth UK quarter-final.

Maguire, who will play either Mark Allen or Joe Perry in the quarter-finals, said: “I played well. That’s the best I have played since I have been down here.

“It was a tough match; he’s gritty and never gives up but I thought I controlled the match from the word go.”

The evening session sees Northern Ireland’s Allen take on England’s Perry and Welshman Ryan Day play China’s Li Hang.

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