• UK Championship

Higgins launches attack on former professionals

ESPN staff
December 2, 2013 « Hodgson fears jungle draw at World Cup | Chartbeat test »
Ronnie O'Sullivan trailed Adam Duffy twice in their round two match at the UK Championship © PA Photos
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Four-time world champion John Higgins edged past Jamie Burnett 6-4 at the UK Championship, before launching a scathing attack on former professionals of the game.

After receiving criticism for recent performances, Higgins was quick to hit back at television pundits and commentators.

"The table's so tight," Higgins said. "That's twice I've played on that table and it's so tight. The old players would never have made [breaks of] 10 or 20. They're probably sitting there watching and giving you dog's abuse and they'll be saying it on camera.

"But when you see the buckets they used to play in in the 1980s, these guys couldn't make 30 or 40. We're struggling big time. There are still record breaks and everything but I can just imagine what some of the older players are saying."

The Scot slammed Joe Johnson for his criticism over changing his cue for a second time this season. "I heard before the tournament Joe Johnson was slating me. If that guy isn't the worst commentator in the world, he's in the top three," he said.

Ronnie O'Sullivan survived the challenge of Adam Duffy to book his place in the third round with a 6-3 victory at the Barbican Centre in York.

Duffy led twice in the early exchanges, before world champion O'Sullivan responded with breaks of 65, 62 and 58 to take the final three frames and advance to the next stage, where he will now face Marcus Campbell.

"My goal is to get enough prize money so I can take another break from snooker. I can have a holiday, sit at home and chill again, which is great," O'Sullivan told BBC Sport.

Judd Trump enjoyed a 6-2 triumph over Xiao Guodong to book his place in round four. In a match which included five century breaks - three for Trump (103, 102 and 133) and two for his opponent (106, 106) - the Brit never looked troubled.

Earlier on Monday, defending champion Mark Selby won five consecutive frames to recover from 3-1 down and defeat China's Tian Pengfei and advance to round three.

"We've played a few times, so I knew what to expect," Selby told BBC Sport. "In patches I played OK, but there were a lot of balls that I missed that I probably should have got.

"It shows that my battling quality is still there. I'd have rather won the matches a lot more convincingly but at the end of the day I'm still in the tournament, and that's the main thing. Overall [my form is] probably six or seven, but it's a long tournament."

World No. 1 Neil Robertson dispatched Robbie Williams 6-1 and will now face Li Hang for a place in round four.

"I think the top players want to get through as quickly as possible," Robertson said. "Robbie is really inexperienced on TV so I went for a lot of shots today, let him beat himself up really - I know what that's like on TV. I kind of bullied him a bit."

Elsewhere, Barry Hawkins defeated taxi driver Gary Wilson 6-4 to set up a round four match with Shaun Murphy. Stuart Bingham, who recently lost out to O'Sullivan in the Champion of Champions final, saw off Anthony McGill 6-2 and Graeme Dott saw off Ali Carter 6-3.

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