Maguire suffers another early exit

Andover Advertiser: Stephen Maguire's first round woes continued in Sheffield Stephen Maguire's first round woes continued in Sheffield

Stephen Maguire tumbled out of the Dafabet World Championship in an all-too-familiar heartbreaking fashion as Welsh qualifier Ryan Day claimed the Scot's scalp on Sunday.

For the third time in the last four years, and on a night of high drama at the Crucible, former world number two Maguire went out in the first round as he was overturned 10-9.

The 33-year-old Glaswegian had endured a largely disappointing season before coming to Sheffield, but reserved his best performances for the majors, reaching the quarter-finals of the UK Championship and semi-finals of the Masters.

This time, on the most famous stage in snooker, his performance and demeanour were flat until at 8-4 adrift he happened on prime form, firing in breaks of 56, 134, 58, 74 and 91 to force a deciding frame.

World number 20 Day had been one frame away at 9-6 and the 34-year-old held his nerve under the intense pressure of the decider to make 92 and tee up a possible second-round clash with Judd Trump.

A frustrated Maguire said: "I wish I got beaten 10-4 now. I could be in the pub just now. But obviously, I'm going to fight to the death because it's the Worlds.

"I'm actually glad the season's finished. It's been a season from hell for me. I'll forget about this in half an hour."

He added: "When it went to the decider I thought I was favourite. I had a chance in that last frame and couldn't take it and Ryan made a good break there."

Day said: "I enjoyed it all the way to the end. He came back strongly and played three really good frames. In the decider I managed to keep control of the cue ball and my emotions more importantly to finish it off.

"I'm over the moon. I thought it was a tremendous match. I know how tenacious Stephen is and I knew he was going to fight to the death. I was just hoping for a chance in the last frame and I got it."

Ken Doherty had not been beyond the first round since getting to the 2006 last eight, but the 1997 world champion ended his long wait as he struck a blow for snooker's senior citizens.

The Irish crowd favourite battled from 5-3 behind to win 10-5 against Stuart Bingham, punching the air in delight as he crossed the winning line.

As World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn considers handing tour wild cards to veterans Steve Davis, Stephen Hendry and Jimmy White, it was left to 44-year-old Doherty to show it should be a long time before he needs an exemption.

"I'm here to enjoy myself but I'm not here to make up the numbers," Doherty said. "I've had a lot of special memories out there and they come flooding back when you're out there in the heat of the battle.

"Sometimes they can inspire you, so I'm trying to draw on all that great experience.

"It was magnificent, just fantastic. I was starting to get really emotional."

Shaun Murphy, the 2005 world champion, came from 7-5 adrift of fellow English potter Jamie Cope to win 10-9 in another late-night nail-biter.

Cope, who led 5-4 heading into their evening session, had a terrific chance for a 147 maximum break in the 10th frame but blundered on the ninth red and lost the frame to a 75 clearance from Murphy. It did not look to affect him as he pulled clear again, yet Murphy came charging back with further breaks of 68, 52 and 58 to hit the front.

Cope has battled the snooker yips because of a tremor that affects his cueing and recently brought in a sports psychologist to help with the problem.

He said: "I just couldn't control my arm today.

"In the past few weeks I've taken some big steps forward but this was a big step back. I don't know why I felt the way I did."

A relieved Murphy said: " If that's what this tournament has got in store for me, I want to go home. That first round is like a bloodbath. I've lost my fair share of deciders here and it doesn't get any easier.

"I'm just pleased to get over the line.

"They are the type of matches that as players we all watch at home and in hotel rooms. To play in and be a part of it's mentally scarring."

China's big title hope Ding Junhui built a 6-3 lead over English qualifier Michael Wasley.

Sheffield-based Ding made a total clearance of 136 in the seventh frame, setting a benchmark for the tournament's high-break prize.

Hamilton's Jamie Burnett surged 6-3 ahead of Cambridgeshire cueman Joe Perry.

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