Two-time winner Mark Selby was knocked out of the Betway UK Championship, losing 6-5 to Matthew Stevens in a match which finished at 12.30am.
Selby couldn’t convert a 5-4 lead into victory and he follows the likes of Judd Trump, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Mark Williams, Neil Robertson and Shaun Murphy in dropping out before the quarter-finals.
Welshman Stevens, champion back in 2003, now faces Stephen Maguire, who saw off Michael White 6-4. The last time Stevens reached the last eight in York was 2012.
World number 43 Stevens led 3-1 at the interval with a top break of 54 then Selby hit back with three in a row, making runs of 51, 52 and 49, to lead 4-3. Stevens took the eighth with a break of 77 and had chances in the 51-minute ninth but couldn’t take them and Selby eventually got the better of a safety battle on the yellow and cleared to lead 5-4.
Selby looked in control of frame ten when he led 39-7 with four reds left, but Stevens cracked in an excellent long red and cleared with 45. The scrappy decider lasted 46 minutes, Stevens making breaks of 29 and 17 which gave him a lead to defend, and when he slotted in another fine long pot on the penultimate red he was able to add the points he needed.
“It wasn’t a pretty match,” admitted 42-year-old Stevens. “I was very lucky because Mark had chances to win 6-4.”
Maguire – He Should Have Killed Me Off
Scotland’s Maguire recovered a 4-2 deficit to win the last four frames against Welshman White. World number 14 Maguire won this title in 2004 and has since reached the quarter-finals a further ten times.
The Glaswegian has already won two titles this season – the invitational Six Red World Championship and the World Cup alongside John Higgins. He is now chasing his first ranking title since 2013.
White fired breaks of 104, 115 and 91 in taking a 4-2 lead. Maguire took a scrappy seventh frame then made a 56 in the next to level at 4-4. In the ninth he cleared with 41 to force a respotted black then potted it after a safety error from his opponent. That proved vital as Maguire clinched victory in the tenth with a break of 116.
“From 4-2 he should have killed me off, he had chances,” admitted 38-year-old Maguire. “I was nicking frames. Michael will feel he has missed the boat tonight. All the matters for me is the win. I didn’t play well but I can improve tomorrow.”
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