UK Snooker Championship: Stephen Hendry suffers first round knockout

Stephen Hendry is a seven-times world champion
Seven-time world champion Hendry had to qualify for the UK Championship

Five-time champion Stephen Hendry has crashed out of the UK Championship after a 6-3 defeat by Stephen Maguire.

The match was finely poised at 3-3, but Maguire won the seventh frame with a 134 clearance and closed the game out.

He now faces defending champion John Higgins in the last 16 in York.

Hendry, who went down the qualification route for the first time in 23 years, showed plenty of battling qualities to stay level after six frames before Maguire's impressive showing in the seventh.

And, in the next, Maguire's 90 clearance put him one frame away from a place in the next round.

Maguire appeared to be cruising into the next round when he went 52-0 ahead, before he missed a simple red with the rest.

However, Hendry could not make the most of his chance and Maguire eventually closed out the frame to progress.

Higgins survived a scare to edge through with a 6-5 victory over Rory McLeod in York.

The 36-year-old, who has been critical of the event's new shorter format, looked rusty as he fell 4-2 behind.

But the three-time champion fought back to lead 5-4 and although McLeod forced a decider, the Scot kept his nerve.

"Rory played ever so well, probably the best he's played on TV," said Higgins. "I know he made three centuries in a row against Ronnie O'Sullivan in this event a few years ago, but in terms of his all-round game that must be his best display."

Two-time champion Ding Junhui also survived a scare, fighting back from 2-0 down to beat Mark Davis 6-5.

Former world champion Graeme Dott defeated Matthew Selt 6-1 while Neil Robertson was in equally impressive form with a 6-1 win over Tom Ford in the other afternoon match.

In the evening session, Matthew Stevens beat Marcus Campbell 6-2 to set up a meeting with Ding in the next round.

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