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John Higgins and Stephen Maguire Advance in Scotland

Only three home players remain in the hunt for glory as the last 32 line-up in the Scottish Open was completed on Wednesday.

John Higgins Scottish Open (WS)

Higgins said that O’Sullivan’s victory in York inspired him to practice harder. Photo credit: World Snooker

Two of them are proven champions on the Main Tour while the other is a rookie who has been buoyed by the local support by reaching this stage of a ranking event for the first time in his career.

Chris Totten, who gained a place on the professional circuit thanks to his shock victory in the European Amateur Championship earlier this year, will play Australia’s Neil Robertson after dispatching of Sam Baird and Mitchell Mann so far at the Emirates Arena.

The 19 year-old’s more esteemed compatriots John Higgins and Stephen Maguire joined him in the third round and will be the players the fans will be mostly behind in their search for a home champion in Glasgow.

Higgins earned a terrific 4-1 success over Christopher Keogan backed by a hat-trick of century breaks and a further run of 85 while Maguire, a semi-finalist in last week’s UK Championship, held off Hamza Akbar 4-2.

Anthony McGill and Alan McManus were among the remaining Scots to bow out early, though.

McGill lost in a late tussle with former world champion Peter Ebdon 4-1 while McManus surrendered the final two frames in a 4-3 reverse against David Grace.

Scott Donaldson and Eden Sharav also crashed out, the latter in a controversial 4-3 defeat to Michael Holt.

Holt stormed from behind to win the last three frames before claims from his opponent were made that the former used unsportsmanlike tactics to put him off in the closing exchanges.

Maguire, meanwhile, will be involved in one of the ties of the round on Thursday when he takes on promising teenager Yan Bingtao.

Yan was in superb form again as he pummelled Jamie Jones with breaks of 102, 101, 97, and 88 for a resounding whitewash win.

A runner-up in the Northern Ireland Open in Belfast last month, Yan is a 12/1 outside shot in the snooker betting odds to capture a maiden ranking event crown this week.

The 17 year-old’s fellow Chinese competitors Ding Junhui, Zhou Yuelong, Li Hang, Cao Yupeng, Zhang Anda, Xu Si, and Xiao Guodong progressed as well.

The latter was 73 points down in his deciding frame with Gary Wilson but received the penalty points he required before clearing the table to steal the frame and match.

Elsewhere, Ronnie O’Sullivan compiled a brace of centuries in overpowering Robert Milkins as he maintained his incredible run of form of late.

O’Sullivan is bidding for a fourth ranking crown in just two months and he’ll prove very difficult to beat if he is going to continue to play with such freedom and finesse.

Defending champion Marco Fu recorded a 4-2 victory against Fang Xiongman while Judd Trump and Michael White, both tournament winners during this term, safely negated their second hurdles too.

Kyren Wilson, runner-up in the English Open at the outset of the Home Nations series, ousted Dominic Dale 4-1 and Ricky Walden edged Joe Swail 4-2.

Among the other names to make it through were Mark Joyce and Ashley Hugill after they enjoyed deciding frame triumphs over Liang Wenbo and Ali Carter respectively.

Thursday will prove to be the busiest day of a hectic final competition in 2017 as 32 cueists become just eight.

Live coverage continues on Eurosport and Quest TV.

Click here to view the draw. (Times: CET)



Creator of SnookerHQ and a journalism graduate, David has been actively reporting on snooker since 2011. He has been published in national publications and has appeared on BBC World News and on talkSPORT radio as an analyst.