Stephen Maguire produced a sensational display to beat Neil Robertson 9-5 and book his place in the semi-finals of the Coral Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.
Scotland’s Maguire fired in a remarkable six century breaks throughout today’s encounter. That saw him fall just short of compatriot Stephen Hendry’s record of seven during a two-session match, which he recorded in a 10-5 win over Ken Doherty in the 1994 UK Championship final.
Maguire was a late entrant to this week’s elite eight-player event, which is being played behind closed doors and under strict Covid-19 testing regulations. He replaced Ding Junhui, who was forced to pull out due to travel difficulties.
It’s a second win over Robertson this season for Maguire, after he battled back from 5-1 down to seal a thrilling 6-5 win over the Australian at the Masters in January.
The players came into this evening’s action all-square, following a sparkling afternoon session which saw them finish level at 4-4. However, it was Maguire who emphatically took a stranglehold on proceedings.
Robertson edged ahead with the first frame, but a blistering run of four consecutive centuries from Maguire saw him move a frame from victory. Runs of 103, 135, 111 and 115 made it 8-5. A break of 59 then saw him come from behind to pinch the 14th frame on the colours and book a semi-final meeting with Judd Trump or John Higgins.
“I’ll never play like that again,” said five-time ranking event winner Maguire. “If I can play half of that, I would take it. Centuries don’t do anything for me, but if I could play half of that standard and make 60s and 70s, I’ll take that.
“I don’t mind that out there, when it is just me. It feels like a practice match and you are just trying your hardest. It was different, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it because I played great.
“I loved getting the call up to tell me I was part of the tournament. It made me hit the practice table and get out of the garden. I was thinking we might not be playing snooker until September or October and that there would be no World Championship. I was thinking the worst. It is phenomenal that we are out there playing again.”
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