Matthew Stevens has withdrawn from the UK Championship after testing positive for coronavirus, while a delay in Covid-19 test results arriving led to four first-round matches being put back more than an hour on Tuesday morning.
Stevens, the 2003 UK Championship winner, was due to play Jamie Jones on Tuesday evening, but after contracting Covid-19 the former world No 4 had to pull out of the tournament.
Anthony Hamilton and Ryan Day both tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday and also had to withdraw.
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Meanwhile, Stephen Maguire’s match with Iulian Boiko went ahead as scheduled at 9.30am GMT, so too Thepchaiya Un-Nooh v Lukas Kleckers, but the remaining four matches - Luca Brecel v Lei Peifan, Liam Highfield v Jackson Page, Lyu Haotian v Soheil Vahedi, Yuan SiJun v Chen Zifan - had to be delayed.
World Snooker Tour (WST) tweeted: “The matches on tables three to six are yet to commence due to the late arrival of Covid-19 test results.
“These games will get underway as soon as results are received, providing they are all negative.”
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Shortly after 11am GMT, WST confirmed negative results had been returned, with play able to start on tables three to six.
By that time, 2004 UK Championship winner and last year’s losing finalist Maguire had already sealed his place in the second round.
Maguire, who lost 10-6 to Ding Junhui in the finale 12 months ago, looked red-hot with breaks of 133, 128, 96, 80, 67 and 65 against Boiko.
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Day, Hamilton out with Covid-19
On Monday both Anthony Hamilton and Ryan Day were forced to withdraw after contracting coronavirus.
The 49-year-old Hamilton was due to play Xu Si on Monday morning and Day, who made it to round three of the Northern Ireland Open, was set to face Jak Jones in the evening of the first day of the UK Championship. Both Xu and Jones have received byes to the second round.
Hamilton withdrew from the World Championship in August due to health concerns at late notice after it was announced that the Crucible would be admitting a limited audience to the rescheduled worlds. The player, knocked out in the first round of the UK Championship last year, is an asthma sufferer.
2020 UK Championship Tuesday schedule
Tuesday, 24 November
- Luca Brecel 6-2 Lei Peifan
- Liam Highfield 6-3 Jackson Page
- Lyu Haotian 6-4 Soheil Vahedi
- Yuan SiJun v Chen Zifan
- Stephen Maguire 6-1 Iulian Boiko
- Thepchaiya Un-Nooh 6-2 Lukas Kleckers
- Michael Holt v Gao Yang
- David Gilbert v Fan Zhengyi
- Robert Milkins v Si Jiahui
- Ricky Walden v Rod Lawler
- Kyren Wilson v Ashley Hugill
- Gary Wilson v Oliver Lines
- Chris Wakelin v Louis Heathcote
- Mark King v David Lilley
- Shaun Murphy v Lee Walker
- Matthew Stevens v Jamie Jones (Walkover, Stevens positive for Covid-19)
What is the format?
All matches are the best of 11 frames until the final which is contested over the best of 19 frames on Sunday, 6 December.
The UK Championship – part of snooker's Triple Crown series – was due to be held at the York Barbican, but due to the global health pandemic, all remaining World Snooker Tour events in 2020 – including the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship, Scottish Open and World Grand Prix – will continue to be staged behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
HOW TO WATCH THE UK CHAMPIONSHIP – TV & LIVE STREAMING
The UK Championship is live on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
Each day eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app will stream uninterrupted bonus feeds.
We will also have rolling coverage online on the Eurosport.co.uk website and our social channels.
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