SNOOKER: Stevens capitalises on reprieve

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The Independent Online
MATTHEW STEVENS has made the most of his early reprieve at the Liverpool Victoria UK Championship to move to within three wins of the title.

The Welshman, runner-up to John Higgins 12 months ago, defeated the Ulsterman Joe Swail 9-4 yesterday to reach the quarter-finals of the event at the Bournemouth International Centre.

"I should already be at home," said Stevens, recalling his first-round victory over Joe Perry when he came from 7-2 down to deny Perry in one of the tournament's great escapes. "After coming through that match I have just treated everything else as a bonus."

Swail scored only 14 points in the last five frames of Sunday's opening session but stopped the rot yesterday, when he cut the deficit in half. But from 6-4, Stevens again displayed more of the form that took him to the Regal Masters title in September. He finished with breaks of 60, 71 and 49.