FORMER world and UK Champion Shaun Murphy was given a tough examination by Chinese qualifier Li Yan in their first round match in the UK Championship.

Murphy, the number six seed, won through 6-3 but knew he had been in a match against the 19-year-old, who was playing in the final stages of a ranking event for the first time.

Yan led 2-1 early on and, after Murphy fought back to lead 4-2, Asia's latest rising star hit back with 53 in the seventh frame to keep his hopes alive.

But a crucial eighth frame, in which both had chances, went Murphy's way to give him some breathing space.

And he finished off with 58 and 67 to grab a spot in the last 16.

Murphy said: "It wasn't my best but I have certainly played worse. He is a fantastic player and he has proved his worth by getting here.

"He has beaten Higgins and Williams this season. I didn't know that and it woke me up a little bit minutes before the match.

"I thought he handled himseld very well and, for my mind, he is the most naturally gifted player to come out of China that I have seen."

On the other table, Leeds' Peter Lines fell 6-2 to Martin Gould.

Known as the potter from Pinner, Gould lived up to anything but his nickname early on - with the pair fighting out a very scrappy first couple of frames.

The recent winner of Power Snooker still went in 3-1 up at the mid-session interval and looked much more fluent after the break.

A superb 123 in the seventh frame put him just one away from victory, which was duly achieved in the next with a knock of 69.

Gould said: "It was a bit scrappy but I came to life at 4-2. It doesn't really matter about the performance, the main thing is to get the win under my belt and, hopefully, improve for the next match.

"You don't want to produce top notch stuff straight away - using up half the tank before you have even started. Hopefully (in the next match) I will start flowing."

Gould and Murphy will now meet in round two on Wednesday lunchtime.

* For a comprehensive round up from the opening weekend of the UK Championship, don't miss The Press tomorrow.