Stephen Hendry edges out Jimmy White at UK Championship
UK Snooker Championship Venue: Telford International Centre Date: 4-12 December Coverage: Live action and highlights on BBC Two and BBC Red Button; updates and reports on BBC Radio 5 live and live coverage on this website. Full details of BBC coverage
Hendry beats White in final-frame decider
Stephen Hendry won the final two frames to see off Jimmy White 9-8 in an error-ridden but enthralling first-round clash at the UK Championship.
The old rivals exchanged centuries at the start of this five-hour encounter but then struggled with their potting.
The first four frames were shared after resuming on Monday at 4-4 before White hit back with a 61 and 68 to lead 8-7.
Hendry took it to a decider by edging a scrappy 16th frame and then a cool 73 proved too much for "the Whirlwind".
It was a worthy climax to an astonishing match - the pair's first meeting in a major tournament for seven years - and more than made up for its lack of big breaks and often low quality shot-making with drama and suspense.
The 48-year-old White, who survived three qualifying rounds just to face Hendry in Telford, looked to have the edge in the concluding stages but eventually succumbed as the seven-time world champion showed some old form to wrap up the last two frames.
Hendry sunk a fine long red in the decider before racking up a break of 73, his second highest knock of the match, and the 41-year-old was mighty relieved to progress and set up a second-round tie with another veteran Mark Williams who had few problems in beating Mark Davis 9-3.
"The bit in the middle was a bit embarrassing for both of us," Hendry told BBC Sport. "You've got two great names in the game who have had some outstanding matches but at stages neither of us could get our cue to the ball.
"If you've got an instinct to win, it automatically kicks in but you can't rely on it. As soon as Jimmy hit his break in the final frame I knew I had a big chance of a long red and I said 'just pot this and you know you'll be in with a chance'.
"I've got the inner belief, I know I've done it in the past and thankfully the break turned out perfectly."
Few would have expected the dramatic downturn in potting form that followed Hendry's break of 104 in the first frame and a 115 by the 48-year-old Londoner in the next in a topsy-turvy opening session on Sunday night.
White 'sickened' after losing to Hendry
With the pair kicking off on Monday afternoon locked at 4-4, the errors continued as Hendry let in his opponent to clear with a 51 and then it was White's turn to miss an easy red to see the scores level again.
High breaks were at a premium but a 57 by Hendry, winner of the UK crown five times, made it 6-6 and he then edged ahead after the mid-session interval to lead for the first time in six frames.
This intriguing clash continued to mesmerise the packed Telford arena despite the ongoing missed pots but despite the increasing pressure as the match neared its conclusion, both players at last began to show some form.
And it was White who was sniffing victory with a 61 - his highest break since his 115 in the match's second frame - to level the score yet again at 7-7 and then a 68 in the next got him within one frame of the finish line.
"The Whirlwind", ranked 64, came close to pulling off a miraculous recovery after needing blacks with the last four reds to take it to a re-spotted black. He missed the fourth red yet still had chances with only the colours remaining before Hendry nicked it to set up the decider.
BBC experts on Hendry's cue problems
It was only the fifth time in 24 years that these two snooker heavyweights had taken each other to a final frame and 16 years since Hendry's 18-17 thrilling win over White in the 1994 World Championship final.
So as the total match time surpassed five hours, it was Hendry who finally battled through after a fine break of 73.
"I lost focus," White, UK champion in 1992, told BBC Sport. "I tried to get focused but I didn't play well at all and I'm really disappointed because I've done a lot of qualifying to get here. I was so pumped up for it but just couldn't produce the goods.
"I was 8-7 up, but there was so many mistakes you haven't got enough tape to go through it, and there was a bit of vintage Hendry at the end."
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