Stephen Maguire
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Stephen Maguire – ‘A wee bit of emotion came out’

Stephen Maguire beat Shaun Murphy 13-9 to reach the quarter-finals of the 2024 World Snooker Championship on Sunday in Sheffield.

The former world number two failed to qualify twelve months ago and had to emerge from Judgement Day in the preliminaries this year.

But back-to-back triumphs over seeded players has seen him reach the last eight at the Crucible Theatre for the eighth time in his career.

Maguire’s clash with Murphy had been billed as a grudge match, given the pair’s longstanding rivalry since their junior days and the infamous chalkgate incident from 20 years ago.

There were a few fiery exchanges during the second session on Saturday, with 2005 champion Murphy punching the air upon pinching a couple of close frames to stay in touch.

Yet Maguire gave an explosive fist pump of his own after winning the final frame of the middle session to establish a healthy 10-6 cushion.

Murphy fought gallantly, but the Magician didn’t really bring his A-game and Maguire wrapped up the contest in style with a terrific break of 127.

“It was satisfying to finish off with the first century of the match,” Stephen Maguire, who shared a respectful handshake with Murphy at the end, told the World Snooker Tour.

“He looked as though he was comfortable there in that session, so I was starting to get geared up for a comeback and a close finish.”

“But once I got my chance, I finished it pretty well.

“It was huge (to go 10-6 in front). I had resigned to the fact that it was going to be 9-7.

“So going out at 5-3, obviously you want to win the session 5-3 or 6-2, but four each is decent. For me to nick that frame to get that four-frame lead, it was huge.

“There was a lot of pressure out there, and the crowd get involved. They are that close to you that you end up getting involved with the crowd when you don’t want to.

“A wee bit of emotion came out – well, a big bit of emotion came out – but don’t get used to it, it won’t happen again.

“If it didn’t mean anything to me, there’d be no emotion like that. I never planned that or anything.

“That’s what happens when every player goes to the dressing room – they go nuts. They hold it in out there in the arena.

“That was just one of those times that I let it slip a little bit.”

Stephen Maguire will take on David Gilbert in the quarter-finals on Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning at least one qualifier will feature at the single table setup in 2024.

Maguire, a six-time ranking event winner, has reached the semi-finals in Sheffield twice before but has lost his last three quarter-final encounters at the Crucible.

“It should be (a good game). Me and Dave get on off the table, we grew up with each other for the best part of 30 years.”

“He’s a great player. I think he’s not had a great season by his standards. I’m probably the same, so we’re coming into a good game at the right time.

“The quarter-finals is a pressure match. I’ve won a couple of quarter-finals, I’ve lost a couple of quarter-finals – it’s a round you don’t want beat in.

“Because that arena just changes, and it does become the best arena in the world with the one table.”

The remainder of Sunday, meanwhile, will see the second sessions of four more round-of-16 ties take place.

Mark Allen and John Higgins resume at 4-4, while Stuart Bingham holds a narrow 5-3 advantage over Jack Lisowski.

Tournament favourite Ronnie O’Sullivan leads Ryan Day 5-3 with Kyren Wilson enjoying a 6-2 cushion against debutant Joe O’Connor.

The second round will then conclude on Monday.

2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

Click here for the latest live scores and session times.

Featured photo credit: WST

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