World Champion Stuart Bingham and in-form John Higgins both booked third round spots at the Betway UK Championship with comfortable victories on Saturday afternoon in York.
Bingham, chasing his first title since his Crucible triumph in May, saw off Anthony Hamilton 6-3 to earn a meeting with Peter Ebdon or Dominic Dale.
He came from 56-0 down to win the opening frame with a 71 clearance before Hamilton levelled with a superb 135. Basilon’s Bingham took the next two frames, making a 77 in the fourth.
Hamilton pulled one back and had chances to make it 3-3, but crucially missed a tough pot on the final pink in frame six. Bingham potted it for 4-2 then made a 68 to extend his lead. Hamilton’s 98 saw him recover to 5-3, but Bingham sealed the result in the next with 143 total clearance, the highest break of the tournament so far.
“I don’t know how I was 3-1 up at the interval because Anthony had more table time,” admitted 39-year-old Bingham. “The frame to go 4-2 was the turning point and after that I finished the match well. I felt confident and I wanted to stay positive and go for my shots in the way I did at the World Championship.”
Higgins, who has won three ranking events this year, eased to a 6-2 win over China’s Tian Pengfei with top breaks of 60, 63, 96, 55 and 103.
“I didn’t play well, I missed too many easy balls but I’m pleased to win,” said Wishaw’s Higgins, who now meets Ali Carter or Daniel Wells. “Tian missed a couple of shots in the fifth frame that proved pivotal, I managed to nick it and from then I thought I was in control.
“With it being 128 players and the way it works out, I think you can sometimes play your way into a tournament better now than before. It helps some of the top players that you are getting into the tournament, you’re playing a couple of matches and feeling settled.”
Tom Ford beat Mark Williams 6-5 with a stunning late fight-back. Two-time UK Champion Williams led 5-3 after a top run of 105, but Ford nicked the ninth frame by clearing from yellow to pink, then came from 69-0 down in the tenth with a 70 clearance. Once again in the decider Williams got to the brink of victory, leading 55-6, but Ford dished up with 66.
Jack Lisowski recovered a 5-2 deficit to beat Grame Dott 6-5. Lisowski took frame eight on the colours and the next two with 53 and 69 for 5-5. And a vital 38 in the decider saw him book a match with Robert Milkins or David Grace.
Martin Gould beat Gary Wilson 6-4 with a top break of 87 while Mark Davis made a 137 in a 6-3 defeat of Ken Doherty.
China’s Liang Wenbo beat Jimmy Robertson 6-2 while Marco Fu made a 102 in a 6-0 whitewash of Yu Delu.