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Last Updated: Sunday, 14 November, 2004, 15:29 GMT
Stevens seeking York inspiration
Matthew Stevens
Stevens has become a father since winning in York
Matthew Stevens is hoping a return to York to defend his UK Championship title will help to restore his form.

The Welshman beat Stephen Hendry 10-8 in last year's final but failed to translate that triumph at the Barbican Centre into consistent success.

"I have lost a few first-round matches, but that doesn't necessarily mean I've been playing badly," he said.

"The UK is my favourite event outside the World Championship, so hopefully I'll have a good run."

The world number six did reach the semi-finals at the Crucible last May but was thrashed 5-0 at the British Open last week by in-form Stephen Maguire.

"There are so many players capable of producing a very high standard these days," said Stevens.

"I lost 5-1 to Andy Hicks in my first match this season and I might as well have been playing Ronnie O'Sullivan because he hardly missed a ball.

"In a best-of-nine match you only need to make a couple of mistakes and you can be out of the tournament.

"That's why I prefer the best-of-17 frames we get at the UK Championship.

"In this event you still get surprise results, but it tends to be the top players getting through to the final stages."

Stevens believes Grand Prix champion Ronnie O'Sullivan and Yorkshireman Paul Hunter will be the men to beat in York.

He could face his good friend Hunter in the last eight and said: "It's a shame we are due to meet relatively early - I would love to meet Paul in the final.

The event starts on Monday with Stevens to play the winner of a first round tie between Norwich's Barry Pinches and former British Open champion Nigel Bond.

Stevens suffers more misery
09 Nov 04 |  Other Sport

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