Snooker: Stevens sprints through

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The Independent Online
Matthew Stevens sprinted into the quarter-finals of the Liverpool Victoria UK Championship at Preston last night as he trounced his fellow Welshman Mark Williams 9-1.

Stevens, 7-1 after the afternoon's session, used up only 24 minutes of the evening. In fact, Stevens was only denied the first-ever whitewash in a best-of-17-frames match at the Guild Hall when he went in-off at the end of frame seven after potting the final black. He next meets either Dean Reynolds or the Scot Martin Dziewialtowski, at 116 the lowest-ranked player to reach the televised stages.

That means a second successive appearance in a ranking tournament semi- final now beckons for Stevens, who defeated world No 4 Williams in last month's Grand Prix before losing to another of the principality's new breed of professionals, Dominic Dale.

One of only four top 16 players left in the competition is Stephen Lee, the former English amateur champion. He overwhelmed the former UK finalist Neal Foulds 9-2. His quarter-final opponent will be Mark King, the world No 20 who earlier put out the world No 15 Darren Morgan 9-5.