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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 23:54 GMT
Higgins slumps in UK Championship
John Higgins
Higgins never looked comfortable as he slumped to defeat in Telford
World champion John Higgins crashed out of the UK Championship at the first hurdle after slumping to a shock 9-3 defeat to world number 26 Jamie Cope.

Cope only qualified for the tournament with a 9-8 defeat of Tom Ford last week but eased past an out-of-sorts Higgins.

However, the Scot insisted: "I feel I'm hitting the ball well, but players like Jamie are just raising their game."

Cope will be joined in the second round by countryman Ronnie O'Sullivan, who fought back to beat Michael Holt 9-6.

The three-time winner trailed 6-5 at one point, but won the final four frames of the session to win through.

Holt had won three frames on the spin to take the lead, but it was O'Sullivan who progressed with match breaks of 54, 59, 117, 51, 75, 50 and 68.

"It was very tough," said O'Sullivan. "I played all right."

When asked whether he was concerned by the fact he has not won a ranking title for 32 months, the world number five responded sarcastically.

606: DEBATE
RocketSwanie

He said: "I'm actually on suicide watch at the moment because the people around me have really noticed it's really bothering me and really affecting me.

"I'm hoping that all the players are going to be kind enough to get my confidence back, let me get my self-esteem back and let me get back on the rankings-trail. It's really hard work.

"Of course it would be nice to make a ranking event. I'll let you (the media) make a big deal out of it, but it doesn't seem much of a big deal for me. Hopefully it comes soon."

Next up for O'Sullivan is a meeting with Romford's Mark King, a 9-8 winner over Stephen Lee.

Scotland's former world champion Graeme Dott was another high-profile name to exit the tournament as he lost out to England's Dave Harold 9-7.

Meanwhile, Barry Hawkins, the world number 19, produced an unbelievable performance to come back from 8-3 down to beat Ali Carter 9-8. He now faces Cope in the next round.

Joe Perry fought off a spirited display from Neil Robertson to book his place in the second round with a 9-6 win.

Hong Kong's Marco Fu also came from behind to book his place in the last 16, fighting back from 6-5 down to beat Welshman Ryan Day 9-6.



SEE ALSO
UK Championship 2007: Jamie Cope
04 Dec 07 |  Snooker
UK Championship results/schedule
11 Dec 07 |  Snooker
Hendry slumps to defeat by Allen
08 Dec 07 |  Snooker
UK Championship draw
03 Dec 07 |  Snooker
Holt backs O'Sullivan resurgence
05 Dec 07 |  Snooker


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