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UK Championship Snooker: Big names crash out early

The seeded players have been dropping like flies in the early stages of the UK Championship, with seven of the world's top-16 falling at the first-round stage.

Neil Robertson, Mark Selby, John Higgins and Mark Williams were among the big names to have crashed out in the opening round, with the early best-of-11 format seemingly playing to the strengths of the underdog.

Defending champion Zhao Xintong, Yan Bingtao and Barry Hawkins were the other three seeds to have been undone by an outsider.

Such is this strength in depth in the game now that there are plenty of potential winners still standing and seven-time champion Ronnie O'Sullivan will be top of many punters' lists at 2/1.

Judd Trump, winner of his only UK Championship title in 2011, is a 7/2 chance, while Kyren Wilson and Mark Allen are both available at 9/1.

Ding Junhui is 10/1 for a fourth UK title while Luca Brecel, runner-up to Zhao last year, is 18/1 in his bid to go one better.

WhatUK Championship
WhereBarbican Centre, York
WhenSaturday 12th November - Sunday 20th November 2022
How to watchBBC, Eurosport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsRonnie O'Sullivan 2/1, Judd Trump 7/2, Mark Allen 9/1, Kyren Wilson 9/1, Ding Junhui 10/1

Rocket chasing eighth UK crown

The draw appears to have already opened up nicely for O'Sullivan and the Rocket will fancy his chances of lifting an eighth UK Championship title at the York Barbican Centre on Sunday.

O'Sullivan made light work of Matthew Stevens in his opening game, winning 6-2 and reeling off breaks of 107, 102, 94, 81 and 73.

Given O'Sullivan has already won the Hong Kong Masters and the Champions of Champions this season, confidence should be sky-high and he certainly looks like he is going to take some stopping.

Next up for the Rocket is Bingtao's conqueror Zhou Yuelong and the world number one has won all three previous meetings with his Chinese opponent, conceding just two frames in the process.

With Hawkins and Williams already out, O'Sullivan is 4/6 to win the fourth quarter. If the 46-year-old gets the better of Zhou, Ding or Jamie Clarke would be waiting in the last eight.

Allen-Wilson clash could be momentous

There is no doubt that the match-up between Allen and Wilson is the pick of the second-round clashes, and the victor should fancy their chances of going all the way.

Allen has been one of the form players this season, having made the final of the British Open before winning the Northern Ireland Open, and he is twice a runner-up in this event.

The Pistol made two centuries as he overcame compatriot Jordan Brown in his York curtain-raiser and he should be favoured in this epic showdown with the Warrior.

Wilson was a convincing 6-3 winner over Matthew Selt in his first-round game, but he had lost three of his five matches prior to that and doesn't appear to be operating anywhere near his best.

Allen is 10/11 to win Wednesday's second-round clash and, therefore, makes plenty of appeal at 9/1 to go on and be crowned champion.

The winner of this encounter will face either Ryan Day or Sam Craigie in the quarter-final, making it a good opportunity for one of them to enjoy a deep run in the tournament.

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Magician could out-trump Judd

Trump survived an almighty scare in his opening-round game as he triumphed in a deciding frame against Xiao Guodong, but he could be outdone by a rejuvenated Murphy in round two.

It was far from a vintage display from the Juddernaut and, although Murphy also prevailed in a deciding frame, there was a lot more to like about his victory over the dangerous Dave Gilbert.

Murphy has had little to celebrate in recent seasons but he looked sharp in what was a high-quality contest with Gilbert, a win that featured knocks of 133, 94, 67 and 63.

Interestingly, the Magician has won three of his last four meetings with Trump, while the world number three also has a poor UK Championship record to overcome, with his only win in the event coming some 11 years ago.

Murphy makes plenty of appeal at 11/5 and victory would tee-up a quarter-final clash with either Hossein Vafaei or Jack Lisowski, making outright quotes of 25/1 look a touch of value.

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