• Welsh Open

Maguire and Higgins flawless as Ding scrapes through

ESPN staff
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Stephen Maguire is now free of back trouble following pain from a slipped disc © Getty Images
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Defending Welsh Open champion Stephen Maguire encountered no trouble in his round three clash with Andrew Pagett as he stormed to a 4-0 victory in Newport.

Despite establishing an early lead in the first frame, a mistake from Pagett allowed Maguire first blood before the Scot punished another error with a break of 73 for a two-frame lead.

A 54 visit from Maguire heaped pressure on Pagett in the third, and he only responded with a 24 before his opponent cleared up for 3-0. Maguire then sealed victory with a patchy fourth frame to set up a last 16 clash with Joel Walker.

"I had a bit of luck and fancied him to clear up in the third frame because he can play. I am still in it so I have half a chance but there is still a long way to go," Maguire told worldsnooker.com. "I don't know who Joel Walker is but obviously he has done well as he is in the last 16. I am getting old so he will after my blood but I am looking forward to it. My back is fine now after resting which is good, I felt no pain out there."

Likewise, John Higgins romped to a 4-0 whitewash over Mark King in their third round tie. Higgins made breaks of 55, 66 and a superb 137 on his way to victory and will now face Judd Trump in an all-star round four tie.

"Mark had a few chances but he didn't punish me and you can't afford to do that," Higgins said. "Against Judd if I give him them chances he will probably clear up so I need to tighten it up. I haven't had many wins against the higher ranked players and that is where I will be judged. Judd is has come in a bit of form of late and he reminds people of a young Jimmy White or Mark Williams. He got to the final at the German Masters so he has the bit between his teeth but we will have to see what happens."

Elsewhere, Barry Hawkins made a brilliant break of 134, as well as a 74, in his narrow 4-3 triumph over Jack Lisowski and Ding Junhui had to fight for a 4-3 win against an impressive Ben Woollaston, who also made a century in defeat.

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