Determined Doherty Denies White in York

Ken Doherty followed fellow Irishman David Morris into the third round of the UK Championship after a superb fight back against Michael White on Sunday in York.

Former world no.2 Ken Doherty - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Former world no.2 Ken Doherty – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The 45 year-old, runner-up in 1994, 2001 and 2002, went 3-0 down early on against the Welshman but responded with some heavy scoring as breaks of 109, 73, 53 and 52 helped him to an unlikely 6-4 triumph.

Doherty has suffered a consistent slide down the rankings over the last number of seasons but, ironically, his best performances of 2014 have come in the two ranking event majors.

The 1997 world champion reached the last 16 at the Crucible in April and will be looking to at least match that achievement when he faces Ricky Walden at the Barbican Centre today.

That will represent another step up in quality for Doherty, with Walden having recently tasted big success at the International Championship.

Elsewhere as the last 64 came to a close yesterday, Ronnie O’Sullivan defied the pain from his broken ankle to see off Peter Lines 6-3 – with a high break of 106 to his name.

Why Lines thought it was relevant to say that he hoped the ‘Rocket’ would withdraw is beyond the realms of reason, as doing so would have just gifted the four-time champion an even bigger mental advantage to that of which he already boasted.

Defending champion Neil Robertson needed all 11 frames in a tight 6-5 win over Kyren Wilson while 2004 champion Stephen Maguire was also in a close battle with China’s Yu Delu, eventually prevailing 6-4.

Like with Doherty, the Scot started slowly and found himself 3-0 down but fought well to overturn the deficit, taking the final four frames for victory.

Meanwhile, England’s Stuart Bingham knocked in the highest break of the tournament so far with a brilliant 142 total clearance en route to 6-3 defeat of Alfie Burden while countryman Shaun Murphy, the 2008 victor, beat Robin Hill by the same scoreline.

Another ex-champion, Peter Ebdon, and 2011 finalist Mark Allen both wasted little time in wrapping up their safe passages into the next stage with 6-1 and 6-0 wins over Kurt Maflin and Luca Brecel respectively.

Northern Ireland’s Allen in particular has been talked about frequently this week as a potential champion having already reached four finals during this campaign, but Ebdon has also been playing well of late and could be a dark horse come the end of proceedings.

That said, the 44 year-old will first have the daunting challenge of attempting to remove Robertson from the draw.

There are some wonderful ties to look forward to over the next couple of days with the last 32 being contested.

Ebdon and Robertson’s bout represents one battle of the former champions while Maguire and Mark Williams’ duel, along with the John Higgins and Matthew Stevens clash, serve up two more exciting prospects.

Murphy comes up against the ever-talented but often feeble 23 year-old Jack Lisowski in an encounter which could quite easily be either a close, tense affair or a runaway rout for Murphy.

Kilkenny’s David Morris will be hoping to support his headline-grabbing triumph over world champion Mark Selby by overcoming David Gilbert while O’Sullivan’s bad foot will be tested again against Ben Woollaston on Tuesday.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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