Stephen Maguire beats Ronnie O’Sullivan in dramatic re-spotted black decider

STEPHEN Maguire triumphed on a re-spotted black in the final frame to see off Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals of the China Open in Beijing yesterday.

The 31-year-old Scot fluked a treble into the middle pocket to seal a 5-4 win in the most dramatic fashion, booking him a semi-final place against Stephen Lee, who beat reigning champion Judd Trump 5-3. Maguire, who won this tournament in 2008 and was the 2004 UK champion, opened up a 2-0 lead with breaks of 76 and 57 enough to subdue O’Sullivan early on.

The three-time world champion showed his class however, with a break of 88 enough to win the third frame and a 60 sufficient to level the match after Maguire missed a red into the middle pocket. A break of 79 restored the Scot’s lead but a missed blue in frame six prompted a spectacular 102 response from O’Sullivan, who concluded the frame by blasting in the final black.

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Maguire moved in front again but a 48 from O’Sullivan forced the decider. Maguire went on an early run to 29 before overstretching for a black, before a 41 put O’Sullivan in the driving seat. Maguire could not get position from the final red to take on the black or pink, so a re-spot was the best he could hope for and after clearing the colours, he rode his luck to see out the match.

Afterwards, Maguire said: “I’m obviously pleased with how it ended. I thought I threw a few frames away early on in the match. I thought I could have won a little bit more comfortably but it’s never easy against Ronnie.

“All the players know that if you let him in for one chance then usually he clears up. So lucky enough for me in the last frame there he missed the last red and I managed to nick it in the end.” O’Sullivan gave all the credit to Maguire after exiting the tournament.

“He’s been a solid player all year and you’ve got to give credit to Stephen because he hung in well there and he made a clearance at the end to get us to the re-spot as well,” he said. “It’s just the way it goes. It’s one of those shots he fancies, there’s a good chance you’re going to get those cross doubles.

“He hit it quite hard and I thought he’d missed it, obviously it went over the second time and went in but that’s the type of shot you can get. It was an all-or-nothing shot.”