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Stephen Maguire Fights Back at Alexandra Palace

Stephen Maguire fought back from 5-1 behind to beat Neil Robertson in a first round Masters thriller at the Alexandra Palace on Monday.

During the first half of the contest, the Scot looked a shadow of the player who reached the final of the UK Championship last month in York.

But a combination of his opponent wilting under the pressure and an unexpected turnaround in his form helped to transform the seemingly one-sided affair into a memorable act of survival.

Robertson was quick out of the blocks, compiling breaks of 76 and a terrific 136 century to rapidly move 2-0 in front.

Things gradually became scrappier but the Melbourne man initially managed to win the majority of those as well, crucially pinching a long third on the black before a run of 71 helped him to a 4-0 mid-session advantage.

Maguire got off the mark after the restart to avoid the whitewash but Robertson had two bites at the cherry in the sixth frame to move to within the brink of victory at 5-1.

In three previous meetings at the Masters, Maguire enjoyed a 100% record against the former world champion and managed to hang on a little longer by constructing a tidy 105.

It looked like a consolation but the Scot narrowed the gap further by coming from 56 points down to steal the eighth frame on the black.

Robertson was looking increasingly edgy and, despite having chances in most frames, was unable to move beyond the winning line.

A revitalised and determined Maguire, four times a semi-finalist, added breaks of 65 and 81 to incredibly restore parity.

The Glaswegian, with the bit between his teeth, had to wait patiently for his chance in the eleventh and final frame.

But it was more of a case of when rather than if Robertson would miss at this stage and the 37 year-old duly overcut a relatively routine black off the spot.

Maguire pounced with a break of 62, the highlight of which was a magnificent long green when he ran out of position in the middle of the break.

The 38 year-old’s survival will certainly give him another confidence boost after his unexpected run to the title decider in this season’s first Triple Crown event at the Barbican Centre just a few weeks ago.

Maguire could face 2018 Masters champion Mark Allen in the last eight but the Northern Irishman must first overcome his opening obstacle later today.

Allen meets David Gilbert in the fourth match at the Alexandra Palace this year, with the latter representing the only debutant in the 2020 draw.

Live coverage continues on the BBC and Eurosport.

Click here to view the draw (Times: CET)

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  1. Pingback: David Gilbert Win Adds to Masters Upsets - SnookerHQ

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