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  Wednesday, 20 March, 2002, 18:52 GMT
Stevens and Hendry cruise
Jimmy White
White has bemoaned the quality of his opponents
Jimmy White has been knocked out of the Irish Masters in the opening round by Matthew Stevens.

White lost 6-5 to the Welshman, who now goes through to the next round, which is the quarter-finals.

Stevens, the world number six, took the first two frames before a break of 106 by White in the third frame cut the deficit to 2-1.


I wouldn't play if I didn't think I could still produce the goods
Jimmy White

After the younger man had restored his two-frame advantage, White produced another century break, this time 102, to make it 3-2.

White, making his 20th successive Dublin appearance, drew level and then went ahead for the first time at 4-3 to the delight of the crowd.

But Stevens took the next two frames to go back into the lead.

The Welshman missed a black for victory in the next frame, allowing White to level at 5-5 but Stevens took the deciding frame 75-14.

Meanwhile Stephen Hendry recorded a 6-2 victory over home favourite Fergal O'Brien.


The fourth frame was massive and after that I played very well
Stephen Hendry
Hendry knocked in two centuries and provided glimpses of his very best snooker.

The match turned when Hendry produced a superb colours clearance to snatch the fourth frame and the seven-times world champion limited O'Brien to just 41 points in the remainder of the match.

"The fourth frame was massive and after that I played very well," said Hendry.

"I scored pretty heavily and was very happy with my performance."

Hendry now faces his fellow Scot John Higgins, who beat him 9-4 to win the title two years ago.

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Snooker star Matthew Stevens
"It was a high-quality match, with few mistakes"
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