sport

Maguire eases into last eight

Stephen Maguire became the first man into the UK Championship quarter-finals after a 6-3 win over John Higgins.

The two good friends and fellow Scots met in the last 16 at York's Barbican Centre and, for the fifth time in succession, it was Maguire who won their personal battle.

A break of 90 won Maguire the opening frame but he potted two unwanted reds, with no colours available, to lose the next.

A 49 put him back in front but Higgins, who on Monday labelled his form "continually s***" and was again out of sorts, drew level with a 47.

Maguire made 59 and a tournament-high 142 in the first two frames back and played a great swerve shot for the red that put the next beyond doubt.

Higgins pulled one back with a 77 but could not find a way back as Maguire took the next with a 65.

Maguire said: "It's a great win, any time you beat John Higgins is a proud moment.

"I felt good after the interval. I should probably have been 3-1 up, maybe even 4-0, and at two each I was thinking 'have I given it away?', but I was happy how I knuckled down after the interval."

Higgins is still hoping for a Scottish winner, with Graeme Dott another contender as he awaits a last-16 clash with reigning champion Mark Selby.

Higgins said: "There's him and wee Dotty still in the tournament and they've got a great chance, the way they're playing. There's some great players still in the tournament but the two of them are great players."