GRAEME Dott may have made short work of his first-round match at the UK Championships but that did not stop the former world champion from voicing concerns about the new tournament structure.

In the open-draw format, all 128 players start from the first round at the majority of tournaments, including the UK event. In the past, the top 16 were given a bye through to the round of 32 at ranking events, but with a level playing field, it would appear the lower-ranked players finally have their chance to impress.

However, Dott, who saw off compatriot Fraser Patrick 6-2 at York's Barbican Centre, insists the lower-ranked players will not profit from the new system.

"I don't agree with the 128; I think it hinders the players coming through," he said. "To give you an example, Neil Robertson [the current world No.1] fell off the tour a few years back against the players he was up against who were of the same level. How do you think he would have fared against Ronnie O'Sullivan and John Higgins in the first round with the system as it is now?

"Judd Trump took a long time to break through; would he have found it easier like this? No. So we could have lost both of them.

"I think it's wrong for the future of the game. Kids coming through, I think they should learn their trade. In my first year I would have had no chance against a John Higgins."

Returning to matters on the table, Dott has looked in impressive form so far this campaign, making the semi-finals at the International Open and also a Players Tour Championship in Gloucester.

The world No.16 faced few problems in seeing off Patrick, the world No.116 from Glasgow, to take his place in the last 64.

"I played quite well but Fraser struggled at the start; I don't think he was that used to the big arena and the venue," he added. "You could clearly see he struggled, I have practised with him a lot and that was not as good as he can play. You can never tell with snooker, but I played well all in all and I'm pleased to have made it through. I'm feeling good, I hope I can keep that up, win a few games and go as far as I can."

Ken Doherty, the former world champion, did fall foul of the new format, losing 6-5 to John Astley, the world No.99, but beyond that there were routine wins for Jimmy White, a 6-4 victor over Michael Wasley, and Ali Carter, a semi-finalist last year, who progressed with a 6-1 win over Thailand's Ratchayothin Yotharuck. The former champion Shaun Murphy went through after his opponent Lee Spick withdrew.

Scots John Higgins, Stephen Magure and Scott Donaldson launch their campaigns today.

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