John Higgins stepped up his bid for a third title within a month as he beat Ben Woollaston 6-2 to reach the last 16 of the Betway UK Championship.
Higgins had Dominic Dale to thank for the result as his cue tip was damaged during his previous match Noppon Saengkham, and Dale happily met his request to put on a new tip. Three-time UK Champion Higgins looked comfortable among the balls tonight as breaks of 94, 52 and 89 helped him to a comfortable victory.
“I’m really happy with how things are going, it couldn’t be better to be honest,” said Higgins, who has already won the China Championship and Champion of Champions this month and earned well over £300,000. “I know Ben missed a couple of shots, but I played pretty well to go to 3-0. He got back to 3-2 and then the sixth frame was a massive turning point as Ben had a couple of good chances and he’ll be really disappointed he didn’t capitalise on those to make it 3-3. That really changed the game because I was in front and won the last two frames pretty easily.
“Dominic put a new tip on for me and told me to just go out and play with it. Hopefully he’ll give it another shape for me before the next round. He says I owe him a meal!”
Zhou Yuelong edged out Yan Bingtao 6-5 in a battle of two of snooker’s hottest young prospects. Yan led 4-1 before Zhou won five of the last six frames with top runs of 96, 71, 53 and 84. In another Asian derby, Marco Fu beat Mei Xiwen 6-4 with a top break of 128.
Luca Brecel impressed in a 6-1 win over Yu Delu, his top break 80.