Big guns progress in York
A review of Monday's action in the UK Championship at the Barbican Centre in York.
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Barry Hawkins and Stuart Bingham reached the UK Championship fourth round with hard-fought but ultimately comfortable wins on Monday.
Bingham opened up a 2-0 lead over Anthony McGill with breaks of 90 and 76 and though McGill pulled one back, Bingham made 54 in the fourth and took it following a tussle on the green.
A 74 in the fifth frame and 99 in the eighth helped him wrap up a 6-2 win and he said: "I'm happy with my game today, a little bit better than yesterday.
"It was a good win over a tough opponent, he made it hard for me.
"A couple of frames I should have won 10 minutes earlier and one of the frames I was lucky to win, to go 3-1 instead of 2-2."
Hawkins ended the dream run of Newcastle's Gary Wilson, who will return to his day job as a taxi driver at least until late January.
Wilson won an opening frame in which both players had chances but Hawkins levelled and breaks of 80 and 52 put him in control by the interval.
He returned with 88 and 77 but Wilson pegged him back with three successive half-centuries before Hawkins eventually pulled through.
Hawkins said: "I felt I played pretty solidly at the start and then started making silly mistakes and putting myself under the cosh a bit.
"I feared the worst when Gary started coming back but luckily he made a couple more mistakes than I did and I managed to fall over the line in the end."
Joe Perry also advanced with a 6-3 success over Scott Donaldson.
Perry, quickly back in action after beating Daniel Wells the previous evening, made four breaks over 50 but Donaldson, who upset Mark Davis on Sunday, had the highest break of the match with a 90 in frame seven.
In the first of four second-round games on Monday, amateur Mitchell Travis followed up his opening upset of world number six Marco Fu with a 6-4 win over Norway's Kurt Maflin.
Maflin came from 2-0 down with breaks of 93 and 77 and the pattern was repeated after the interval, Travis pulling two clear and Maflin levelling despite a failed 147 attempt.
Travis won the next two, though, and said: "I'm playing in the second biggest tournament in the snooker calendar, and I'm into the last 32.
"Who would have thought that, an amateur, through to the last 32, beating two top-class players?"
Meanwhile, world number one Neil Robertson made short work of his second-round match as the Australian beat Robbie Williams 6-1 to set up a clash with China's Li Hang.
Robertson swept the frames before the interval, helped by breaks of 64 and 53, as Williams struggled to settle.
The Wirral left-hander at least got on the board in the first frame after the interval, but breaks of 119 and 90 from Robertson rendered it academic.
Robertson said: "I got through nice and quick, that was my goal.
"I gave him some chances early on but in some ways that can be good with players who haven't had too much TV exposure because they can beat themselves up, and that's what he did.
"He pegged a frame back but I made 90 and 100 the last two, so I'm happy to get through."
Williams labelled his performance "rubbish" compared to his recent semi-final runs at the Indian Open and a Players' Tour Championship event in Germany.
He admitted: "I just couldn't get going. It got a bit embarrassing towards the end.
"I just didn't want to get beat 6-0... 6-1, I can take something from it I suppose."
John Higgins labelled his form "soul-destroying" and "continually s***" despite beating fellow Scot Jamie Burnett 6-4.
A 92 in the penultimate frame was Higgins' only break of note but he found enough resolve to outlast Burnett, who won his four frames with breaks of 105, 52, 82 and 57.
Mark Selby came from 3-1 down for the second game in succession to beat China's Tian Pengfei 6-3.
Tian made 64 in frame two and 49 to steal the frame before the interval by a point.
But Selby reeled off five frames in a row with breaks of 116, 58 and 59
He said: "It seems to be the same old story, 3-1 down and then I start playing okay.
"I go out there to try and get a good start and it seems to work the other way and I put myself under pressure. It's something to look into for the next match.
"Hopefully it doesn't happen again - but at the same time, hopefully it does if I keep winning."
Shaun Murphy briefly fell behind in his third-round match with Noppon Saengkham but ultimately came through 6-2.
The 'Magician' made breaks of 105, 69, 61 and 56 to set up a clash with Barry Hawkins, who beat Gary Wilson 6-4 in the morning session.
Ronnier O'Sullivan had to come from behind twice before the interval against Adam Duffy and, although he eventually won 6-3, he looked far from his fluent best.
His erratic performance was summed up by an extraordinary sixth frame which ended when, needing a snooker and attempting to clear the pink from the jaws of a pocket, O'Sullivan smashed it off the table and also went in-off for the fourth time in the frame.
He said: "My goal is to get enough prize money so I can take another break from snooker, to be honest with you.
"It's now a prize money list and getting through here's done me well so maybe I can take a few more months out, because I enjoyed my time out so much last time. Just play the system, really.
"I'm not too bothered about my form. I'm just trying to keep my top-64 place."
On the next table, Judd Trump enjoyed a more comfortable win against Xiao Guodong in a match of exceptional quality.
The first three frames were won by century breaks and Xiao added another, his second run of 106, later in the game.
They were the only two frames the Chinese player won, though, as the 2011 winner finished proceedings in even grander style with a 133 clearance.
The Bristolian said: "There were a lot of centuries in that game. The table played well and my best game always comes out in front of the big crowd.
"Whether they're here for me or Ronnie, I always pull it out for the big crowd."
Graeme Dott notched a 6-3 win over Ali Carter to steal a march in the race for a qualifying spot for next month's Masters. A 99 break in frame three was the highlight.
Stephen Maguire came through his second successive final-frame decider, seeing off Liang Wenbo in the same fashion as he accounted for Luca Brecel.