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Maguire shows little mercy to friend Higgins to march into quarter-finals

STEPHEN Maguire ousted his compatriot John Higgins 6-3 last night to take his place in the quarter-finals of the williamhill.com UK Snooker Championship.

Maguire showed little mercy for his friend in the world's second most important tournament at the Barbican Centre. "John's struggling for confidence just now and it's definitely not nice to see," said the player from Milton. "But I'm 100% sure he's going to come back, so I might as well kick him when he's down. I think I've beaten him a few times now on the spin, but he's done me quite a few times, more than I've done him. So that's a great win, any time you beat John Higgins is a great moment."

Maguire had breaks of 90, 49 and 47, but Higgins stayed close to stay level at the interval. However, it was one-way traffic after the resumption as Maguire pocketed breaks of 59, 47 and 65 to keep his hopes on track for the £150,000 first prize.

There was also a tournament high break of 142 which will earn Maguire an additional £4,000 in prize money if it is not bettered at this years' event.

Next up for Maguire is a quarter-final showdown with either the world No.1 Neil Robertson or Joe Perry tomorrow.

Higgins admitted the match was a lost cause. "I knew it was coming; I missed a black in the fifth frame which was just unforgiveable. That probably gave him bit of confidence and helped him relax. After the interval he hit the ball really well. He's got a good chance [of winning it] if he keeps on playing like that."

Earlier, another Scot, Marcus Campbell, was left scratching his head after Ronnie O'Sullivan produced some of his best snooker. Campbell went into his third-round clash with the world champion buoyed by hard-fought wins over Lu Haotian and Michael White. But he was well aware of his loss to O'Sullivan at the World Championship earlier this year as the Londoner stormed to a fifth title, and he was outclassed again.

The Scot lost 6-2 to one of the favourites for the title, but the 41-year-old was pleased with his performance and is keen to build on the glimpses of form he has shown.

"My plan was just to go for all the big shots, but I don't even think I got one of them," he said.

"It is good to watch [O'Sullivan] when he is in that mode. He makes the difficult shots look easy, so when he does miss a few you think, 'what happened there'.

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