Stephen Maguire may have finally settled on a new cue after making the quarter-finals of the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield.
The Scot reached the last eight at the Crucible Theatre for the seventh time in his career with a 13-9 defeat of Zhao Xintong.
Maguire’s produced his best performance of the entire season to defeat the seventh seed and reigning UK champion.
Unhappy with his display in the first round against Shaun Murphy, the 41 year-old travelled back to Scotland and borrowed his friend’s cue.
The long journey there and back thankfully worked out, with the former world number two scoring heavily in a mostly one-sided affair against the young Chinese competitor.
“I think I broke the back of it. 5-3 was a nice wee lead,” Maguire said of his first session when speaking to tournament sponsors Betfred.
“But to win the second session 6-2 was a wee Brucey bonus, and that won me the match.”
“Obviously you want that lead, but I woke up this morning and usually I’m up for it, (but) I was just thinking as if I had all day to win two frames.
“It’s terrible, I didn’t want to feel like that, so a couple of times I was kicking my cue just to get myself revved up a little bit.
“I didn’t want it going any closer than what it got, so it can be dangerous but you would still take the lead.
“I wouldn’t say there was doubt, but I had to just reign it in a little bit. I tried to get over the line a wee bit too quick.
“I went for a couple of stupid shots and paid for it, but luckily for me I had plenty of time and I still had a few frames to play with.
“I’ve been struggling with cues for the last few years really. In tournaments I’ve played with about 30 cues over the last few years.
“It’s terrible, and I think I’ve paid the price for it with my ranking. It’s not helped, but finally I’ve found this cue.
“I’ve only had it for a few days, but I actually like it and I feel like I could get used to it, so roll on next season.
“I’m looking forward to (playing Ronnie). Playing him any time is pretty good, he brings a different atmosphere to any match – especially here.
“Once you’re on the table, the table doesn’t change, so you just go out and play your game. If you’re not good enough, shake hands and say ‘well done’.
“If you’re good enough, then you’re in the semis.”
O’Sullivan, meanwhile, booked his spot in the quarter-finals with a 13-4 hammering over Mark Allen that represented a record-breaking 71st career win at the Crucible for the Rocket.
Later on day eight, defending world champion Mark Selby crashed out after a gruelling 13-10 reverse against Yan Bingtao.
The last 16 ties between Judd Trump and Anthony McGill, and Neil Robertson and Jack Lisowski, ended 4-4 after their opening bouts of play.
Featured photo credit: WST