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Hawkins Dethroned By King

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Last year’s winner Barry Hawkins suffered a first round defeat at the Players Championship in Thailand as he lost 4-2 to Mark King.

World number five Hawkins beat Gerard Greene in the final in Preston a year ago, but the Kent-based cueman has suffered a series of early exits from tournaments in recent months and that continued against Essex potter King in Bangkok.

World number 33 King knocked in breaks of 56, 72, 60, 78 and 64 in a fine display.

“I pulled a muscle in my back on the flight on the way here and it was really painful,” said King. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to play, but I took some painkillers and as the match went on it got a bit easier. I’m delighted to win and play well.

“This event is big money and it counts towards the rankings so it’s important. It’s great to have a tournament in Thailand because I love playing here. We’ve played all over the world this season and snooker is on the up.”

Stephen Maguire boosted his hopes of keeping his top 16 place for the Betfred World Championship as he won a Scottish derby against John Higgins 4-3.

Welsh Open champion Higgins led three times, but Maguire fought back each time. He compiled runs of 115, 67 and a vital 57 in the decider.

Matthew Selt top scored with 69 in a 4-1 win over Oliver Lines, while Michael Holt produced his best performance in recent weeks, beating Jimmy Robertson 4-2 with breaks of 99, 50, 72 and 52.