Stephen Maguire survives scare at English Open

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Stephen Maguire was a relieved man after surviving an almighty scare in the first round of the English Open to eventually overcome Gareth Allen 4-3.

The former UK champion was far from his best as world No.101 Allen forced the game to a decider, even having a chance in the final frame to seal the match.

A break of 117 ultimately saw Maguire through but with greater challenges to come – including world No.23 Ryan Day in round two – the Glaswegian knows he now must up his game if he is to progress at EventCity, Manchester.

“I thought I was out, he was in the balls in that last frame and had a great chance, but he missed and left me a nice break and I was able to get over the line,” said Maguire last night.

“I made that hard for myself – I won the first frame quite easily and I was perfect in the second but I gifted it to him.

“All he had to do was pot the ones that I was leaving, but I’ve got a day off on Tuesday where I can sharpen up a bit.

“To keep progressing in the tournament I’m going to have to be in tip-top form, but it might be a good thing that I got a bit of a scare.

“I’ve now got seven frames under my belt, and it’s nice to sometimes win 4-0 and get out in an hour, but it’s also good to feel a bit, so it might stand me in good stead.”

Maguire wasn’t the only Scot to require a decider in order to progress as Edinburgh’s Ross Muir was also just one frame away from exiting at the first hurdle before fighting his way back.

The 21-year-old trailed 
China’s Zhang Yong 3-1 but lost just 33 points in the last three frames to notch a battling 4-3 triumph.

Muir has had a quiet year to date, with this victory just his first in five seven-frame matches this season.

It’s a comeback the youngster hails as one of his best moments in the sport and he is convinced it will give him the boost to show what he is made of in later rounds.

“I lost two frames where I probably shouldn’t have, two basic errors cost me really quickly so I’m happy to have stuck in there and turn it around, it’s something I’m quite proud of,” said Muir.

“But even when I was 3-1 down I wasn’t too negative – first to four isn’t much when all you need is three in a row, it’s not like the World Championship, so it’s about remaining confident. I’m delighted with the way I finished and a century in the match is a huge boost going forward.

“Over the past month I’ve got back to putting the hard work in which I wasn’t able to do earlier in the season, and I can now have that confidence and the belief that I can go far in tournaments.

“But everyone on the pro tour can play well, it doesn’t matter where you rank in the world, so I have to make sure I can take positives from my match and put that into practice.”

l Watch the English Open live on Eurosport 1 and Quest, featuring daily studio analysis from Ronnie O’Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.