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Ken Doherty to face Alan McManus in second round in Sheffield

Updated: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 20:12 | Comments

Alan McManus and Ken Doherty get their second-round match underway on Saturday
Alan McManus and Ken Doherty get their second-round match underway on Saturday

Ireland’s Ken Doherty will face fellow veteran Alan McManus in the second round of the Dafabet World Championship after the Scot overcame compatriot John Higgins on a 10-7 scoreline at the Crucible.

McManus said he "just fell over the line", but it was a victory the 1994 Masters champion toiled for and carries him into the second round for the first time since 2005.

Higgins had taken the final two frames of their opening session on Monday to slow the charge of McManus, cutting his arrears to 6-3 overnight, but any momentum he might have felt failed to influence his performance on the resumption.

It was Mark Davis taking out Higgins last year, with this time McManus the man bossing a last-32 tussle against the man who won three of his world titles in a scorching spell from 2007 to 2011.

A fluked red gave Higgins the impetus to stop the early morning rot and get back to 8-4, and after losing the next to go one frame away from defeat he belatedly found some vintage form, with the 38-year-old making 111, 67 and 94 in closing the gap to 9-7.

McManus, 43, trailed in the next frame too, but Higgins missed the blue when he looked like going just one frame behind and his good friend seized the unexpected match-winning chance.

McManus said on BBC Two: "It was a bit of a tense finish. It's never easy to put John away.

 "Although he probably never played as well as he would have liked in most of the match, he came on strong towards the end and I kind of just fell over the line so I feel very fortunate.

"Now I play my fellow old-stager, Ken, and I really look forward to it. I'm sure Ken will be looking forward to it as much as I am."

Higgins had to concede his days as a regular title contender may be behind him.

He said: "It's been a bad season but I'm a lot happier compared to last year. I think I'm playing better - that's a crumb of comfort I can take.

"I feel as if there's something there that I can work on. There's been times when I've been sat here desolate, but I still think there's some decent snooker left in me.

"I'm not one of the top players that's challenging for events, I'm possibly a journeyman top-16 player now. The journeymen can have their day sometimes."

Martin Gould fell 6-3 behind against Hong Kong's Marco Fu, who at one stage had a 147 maximum break chance that stalled after dispatching 11 reds and blacks.

Judd Trump took a 6-2 lead over Tom Ford without having to be anywhere near his fluent best.

The four frames before the mid-session interval were shared, with Trump's 62 in frame three representing the highest break of a scrappy session.

Ford showed patches of fluency but at times looked overwhelmed by the Crucible stage, exemplified when he lost the frame after the interval despite being in first with a break of 48.

That was in excess of Trump's top contribution after the interval, a 40 in frame seven, but the Bristolian took four in a row before suffering the unusual fate for him of being taken off one frame early to make way for the evening matches.

On the other table, Barry Hawkins also struggled early on before battling to a 5-4 lead over qualifier David Gilbert.

The world number four's best break before the interval was just 29 as he trailed 3-1, Gilbert with a 77 in frame two.

A 72 in the first frame back helped Hawkins find his form and though Gilbert took the next with a 56, breaks of 72, 115 and 69 gave Hawkins a slender lead to take into Wednesday morning's concluding session.

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