• UK Championship

Higgins eases past Michael Holt

ESPN staff
December 1, 2012
John Higgins said he was on edge in York © PA Photos

John Higgins opened up his UK Championship challenge with a 6-3 win over Michael Holt.

Higgins is a three-time winner of the event, dating back to his first title in 1998, and he knocked in a century break in a tight first session. Holt pressed him hard, but Higgins took the final three frames to close out the match.

"I'm delighted to win. I was on edge the whole game," Higgins said. "Being the first match on, sometimes that's not for the best. The table was playing really slow, the cushions were the slowest I think I've ever played on and it was difficult to get used to the conditions."

Two-time champion Ding Junhui crashed out following a shock 6-4 defeat to qualifier Ryan Day. Ding, who was beaten by Day at this year's World Championship, looked set to avenge that defeat when he raced to a 2-0 lead thanks in part to a 106, but he was soon pegged back.

Ding looked to be firmly on course for victory when he took a 4-3 lead, but a century break put Day on the way to a superb comeback victory, winning three consecutive frames to seal his place in the second round.

Mark Selby progressed unscathed with a 6-3 win over Michael White, while Graeme Dott edged past Martin Gould 6-5.

Barry Hawkins kept his nerve to deny Liang Wenbo 6-4. Hawkins knocked in the first century of the tournament, a 101, but Wenbo hit back with a ton of his own to lead 4-3. Hawkins refused to wilt and ran through three frames on the spin to seal his passage into round two in York.

Scotland's Stephen Maguire eased into the second round with a 6-2 victory over Fergal O'Brien.

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