UK Championship 2016: John Higgins & Shaun Murphy through to second round

John Higgins

Higgins is in good form having won the China Championship earlier in November

Former champions John Higgins and Shaun Murphy made it through to the second round of the UK Championship at the York Barbican.

World number four Higgins started with a century against Alex Borg, but the 47-year-old Maltese drew level at 3-3 before the Scot pulled away to win 6-3.

“I didn’t play great, but a win’s a win,” said 41-year-old Higgins.

World number six Shaun Murphy, the 2008 winner, fought back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Brazil’s Itaro Santos 6-3.

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But Northern Ireland Open champion Mark King lost 6-2 against fellow Englishman Sam Craigie after being docked a frame in bizarre circumstances.

The 42-year-old – whose win in Belfast was the first ranking success of his 25-year career – forgot his cue following the interval and, after collecting it, was docked a frame for returning late to the arena.

At 4-1 down King then scored a magnificent 141, the tournament’s highest break so far, but world number 94 Craigie took the next two to get over the line.

China’s Liang Wenbo, the runner-up in 2015, lost a scrappy first frame against Australian Kurt Dunham but then showed majestic form, scoring two centuries and three breaks of 50 plus on his way to a 6-1 victory.

Ronnie O’Sullivan, who has won the tournament five times, faces Thailand’s Boonyarit Keattikun on Wednesday evening.

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