UK Snooker Championship: Robertson and Higgins set for quarter-finals

By Owen PhillipsBBC Sport at York Barbican
Neil Robertson
Robertson won the UK Championship in 2013, beating Mark Selby in the final
Betway UK Championship
Venue: York Barbican Dates: 24 November-6 December
BBC coverage: Watch on BBC Two, Red Button, BBC Sport website, Connected TVs, tablets, mobiles and app from 28 November.

World number three Neil Robertson and three time-champion John Higgins moved into the UK Championship quarter-finals with contrasting victories in York.

Robertson, the 2013 winner, made three centuries and two fifty-plus breaks as he won six frames in a row to beat world number 15 Stephen Maguire 6-1.

In the battle of Maguire's fellow Scots, a nervy Higgins held off Jamie Burnett's comeback to progress 6-4.

World number seven Higgins led 4-1 but lost three frames in a row.

Higgins, who faces Robertson in the last eight, told BBC Sport: "It was a big scare. I thought it was going to 5-5 so I was so pleased to win 6-4.

"If it goes 5-5 it's a toss of a coin. Jamie had a chance at 4-4 but missed a red and he will be kicking himself because I was really struggling.

"If he had gone 5-4 in front I am sure he would have won the game."

Higgins, winner of 28 ranking events including two this season, started impressively enough with three breaks of more than 50 earning a 3-0 lead.

But at 4-1 ahead, he missed numerous simple pots and Burnett grew in confidence.

Higgins settled his nerves with a brilliant 102 to go ahead and settled the match with a break of 71 - his fifth half-century.

Rampant Robertson

Robertson had no such trouble in his win over Maguire.

A superb ton earned the Scot the opening frame, but he barely had a look-in after that.

"He was awesome. If he plays like that then he wins the tournament," Maguire told BBC Sport.

"That was a lesson. If I go back in time I couldn't really doing anything about it. But he can't keep that up, it's impossible. He was potting everything."

Maguire's opening-frame 118 was followed by breaks of 124, 76 and 101 by Cambridge-based Australian Robertson as he established a 3-1 interval lead.

The Scot, UK champion in 2004, was then incredibly unfortunate to go in off when on course to win the fifth frame.

BBC Graphic

Robertson took full advantage, winning that crucial frame and closing out victory with a break of 113.

Robertson, who had 97% pot success, said: "That was the best I have played all season, without a doubt. I played great but I knew I had to.

"I have to maintain my focus and keep my foot down.

"He looked in really good nick in that first frame and didn't really have a chance up until 3-1 when he was unfortunate to go in off the yellow.

"That was the only obvious mistake he made - even though it was very unlucky."

China's Liang Wenbo joined Robertson in the last eight, beating Englishman Tom Ford 6-5 in a tense final-frame match that lasted more than four hours.

And Londoner Martin Gould was a comfortable winner over Northern Ireland's Joe Swail, earning a 6-3 victory to complete the quarter-final line-up.

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