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Page last updated at 19:57 GMT, Tuesday, 7 December 2010

John Higgins beats Graeme Dott 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.
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Tearful Higgins hails 'great win'

John Higgins was far from his best but came through a final-frame decider to beat Graeme Dott 9-8 and make the quarter-finals at the UK Championship.

Unable to to pot a ball in the first two frames, Higgins led once at 5-4 and struggled throughout for consistency.

Dott's 100 break was the highest of the match as he wasted many chances when leading for most of the second session.

Higgins, making his UK comeback from a ban, cleared brilliantly to take it to a decider before a 56 proved enough.

The three-time world champion will play Stephen Maguire for a place in the semi-finals after his fellow Scot, ranked number five, impressed in a 9-7 win over Mark Selby.

Higgins is playing in his first major tournament since returning from a six-month ban for failing to report a match-fixing approach.

After a tight struggle against Stephen Lee in the first round, the 35-year-old was pushed all the way by World Championship runner-up Dott.

"He's a very fluent player and it was such a tough match," Higgins told BBC Sport. "He'll be kicking himself. There were a couple of frames I just stole from him.

606: DEBATE

"It's good to be back. It's a second chapter and I'm very motivated."

Australian Neil Robertson had a bit of a scare against Andrew Higginson before progressing to the last eight in Telford.

The world number one led overnight 7-1 after breaks of 136, 113 and 86 but the Englishman, ranked 25, won five out of six frames on Tuesday to make it 8-5.

"I played a silly shot when I was 7-0 up last night," Robertson said. "I thought it was showtime."

However, the current world champion kept his cool to wrap up the win and set up a last-eight spot against Shaun Murphy, who pipped Ryan Day 9-8 later on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland's Mark Allen was another to survive a fightback from his opponent. The world number 11 led 6-2 overnight but China's Ding Junhui, defending champion at Telford, hit back to make it 8-8 before Allen squeezed through.

Allen will play Stuart Bingham, conqueror of Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round, who beat Marco Fu 9-2.

Higgins, a UK title winner in 1998, was second best for much of his encounter with Dott and it was only in the last two frames that he rediscovered his assured touch.

John Higgins

Higgins scrapes through to quarters

After failing to trouble the scorers in the match's first two frames, he clawed it back to 2-2 and ended Monday evening at 4-4 helped by breaks of 75 and 84 in response to Dott's century in the fifth.

The "Wizard of Wishaw" opened up his account on Tuesday with a 79 to lead for the first time in the match but then his performance levels dropped considerably as Dott produced a typical gritty comeback.

Dott, the 2006 world champion and runner-up this year, won the next two frames and had a healthy lead at 7-6 before letting his opponent off the hook.

Higgins produced a fine clearance, which included a breath-taking long green, to make it 7-7 but the errors returned and Dott looked favourite to win after edging a 30-minute marathon 15th frame.

A 44 break had Dott in the driving seat but Higgins fought back to take it to a decider and then secured the victory after a nerveless, for once, 56 break to leave his fellow-Glaswegian rueing his missed opportunity.



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see also
UK Championship - latest scores
10 Dec 10 |  Snooker
O'Sullivan dumped out by Bingham
06 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Higgins wins on British comeback
05 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Higgins happy to take second chance
06 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Hendry beats White in nervy epic
06 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Champion Ding eases into last 16
04 Dec 10 |  Snooker
Higgins reveals suspension misery
23 Nov 10 |  Snooker
Higgins wins comeback tournament
14 Nov 10 |  Snooker
Ding defeats Higgins in UK final
14 Dec 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
08 Apr 11 |  Snooker


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