A dramatic evening at the UK Championship tonight as three-time former champion John Higgins was sent home from the tournament by Mark Davis, despite making his second maximum break of the season during the eighth frame of the match.
Elsewhere, Neil Robertson won a difficult match against Barry Hawkins, following which both players explained that the conditions were far from ideal, while earlier in the day both Mark Selby and surprise package Luca Brecel also booked their places in the quarter-finals.
Again, due to time constraints, please find below extracts from the press conferences of the four players involved this evening…
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“It was hard work to be honest tonight. I can’t really explain it, it was just one of those things, mistiming things and couldn’t find any rhythm really. It wasn’t through lack of trying, just sometimes you get days like that and it is a bit annoying really because I thought that I played quite well in my first match and I was expecting to play alright tonight but it was weird. Neil didn’t play that well either to be honest. It just got a bit scrappy in the end, kept making too many mistakes and that’s what happens. Can’t win playing like that really.”
“I don’t think that I settled that well at the start of the match and it is so important to settle if you can as quick as possible, but I was getting chances and then missing balls and mistiming everything. I wasn’t getting through the white and it’s hard to find some rhythm when you are playing like that really. I tried my hardest and it is just one of those things, bad day at the office I suppose.”
“If you see a top player struggling you think ‘come on, try and find some form and put him under pressure,’ but I didn’t put him under any pressure at all really. He thought that if he made a mistake, I wasn’t going to punish him and that’s what happened. It’s just so frustrating because you feel like your form is there and you are playing well and all of a sudden you put a performance like that it. But never mind, just go home now, forget about it and try to concentrate on the next one.”
“Sometimes you need to win matches like that and battle through it, probably what Neil did and he will probably say the same as well when he comes in, but yeah it’s frustrating because after winning a tournament you want to keep doing well really and keep playing well, but you can’t play well all the time.”
“I don’t like to make excuses and blame the conditions but we were getting a lot of kicks. The white was a bit heavy at times and then all of a sudden it would fly back and when you start mistiming things as well it just makes you look stupid sometimes. I think we have had a lot of play on over the last few days, they are playing a little bit more heavy now I suppose and getting bigger bounces off the cushions. But that’s not the reason why I lost, I struggled really, that’s the way it goes.”
After much discussion of the outcome of Chelsea’s Champions League exit this evening as the press filled Neil in on who had missed a penalty and who had not, Robertson spoke about his win:
“I was just absolutely pathetic, the table was atrocious, I am going to fill a form for Martin Clark because it was the worst table I have played on as a professional, which made it almost unplayable for both of us. So I don’t know what to say about the match, I can’t really honestly analyse it because you just have to try and pot the balls that are in front of you and luckily I potted more than Barry because it was atrocious, the match was shocking to watch.”
“Bounces off the cushions, the white played very heavy, Willie Thorne thought the white was a heavy white, because he watched the match earlier with Luca and Mark King and he said that the same sort of things were happening, so hopefully they change the sets of balls play for tomorrow, whoever is on that table, be it me or whoever.
“So delighted to get through, 6-2, Barry has been playing pretty well lately. But yeah the performance was awful, absolutely atrocious. But I can’t be too harsh on myself because playing conditions didn’t allow us to play any different.”
On facing Mark Selby next:
“We haven’t played each other for years in a ranking tournament, yeah he dug in deep, 3-0 down earlier on. Providing the conditions are good, I’m sure both of us will play a lot better than what we did today. He is trying to get the number one spot from Judd, I think he has to reach the final? So he’ll be very keen to try and get back to number one. I can’t really attack the number one spot probably for anther three or four months when I start catching up the points, so I am just trying to progress as far as I can.”
“I’m gutted really, normally clearing up the last frame I would do ok, but I was all over the place basically. I played a bad yellow, played a bad green, got lucky, played a terrible brown, played a bad blue and then just twitched the pink, trying to play with a little bit of side to come back for the black. So gutted, gutted.”
“I didn’t deserve to win that match really, Mark played better than me. He made better pressure clearances. That’s the difference maybe with Mark, the last year or two, whereas before he would maybe miss clearing up. Two or three frames before the interval you fancied him getting them because he was clearing with more confidence.”
“I didn’t deserve to win that match, I was all over the place all match.”
On where the 147 had come from:
“I was still trying to stay in the match really, that’s why I went out to compose myself, there is no point in staying out in the arena. I was trying to stay composed in the match and I came out and have done that really.
“But I have no complaints, Mark played the better stuff, he missed a ball here or there but full credit to him.”
“It was an incredible match really, I felt to go 5-2 up that I had played really well, even though early on it was quite scrappy, I didn’t really miss anything, I had a couple of kicks on balls but I can’t think of too much else I missed.”
“Then John had a brilliant maximum and a one-visit in the next frame so I still wasn’t feeling too bad because I hadn’t had a chance to win yet, I was just thinking give me a chance to win the match. I had some the next frame and didn’t take them so I just had to try and forget about that because I knew in my mind that it should have been over 6-4 the chances I had in that frame, but I didn’t and I had to just steady myself for the last frame, get my head right and I thought I played quite a good last frame. I lost position a couple of times, you know obviously when John potted the red I thought that it was all over to be honest, he’s not going to miss, we’ve seen him do it countless times before.”
“He was playing it [the pink] with a little bit of check side, he was a little bit low on it and that was a missable shot, he wasn’t just rolling it in or anything, so they are missable, especially under pressure so I was a bit surprised I must admit but it gave me another chance which in the end I managed to take.”
“I knew it had a chance, it was a sort of shot to nothing because if I didn’t quite get it, it might have hit the jaw and gone back on the cushion but I was going for doubles and all sorts, it was like the 1985 final, I tried to double the pink and everything,if it was there I was going to go for it, I wasn’t going to mess up the safety and lose it that way! I was always going to go for it.”
“It’s at the top without a doubt, a massive BBC event, I’ve not got a good record against John at all. The last two times I have played him have been pretty poor performances to be honest so it is nice to play some good stuff against him as well. It’s at the top, best result for a very long time, nobody rates John higher than I do, especially after he had come back from 5-2 and hitting the ball quite nice to nick it in the last frame. It makes me feel good.”