Stephen Maguire exercised a narrow win over Englishman Mark Selby to book a spot in the Players’ Championship last-four.
It was an encounter that grew fierce and tense-filled as the game grew. Maguire won the deciding frame to edge out world number four, Selby.
Maguire looks to have fallen in love with the 6-5 scoreline, having posted that same scorecard in the quarterfinals to Ding Junhui. With this win against Selby, he has now set himself up for a semi-final meeting with world number one, Judd Trump. Both players are now poised to jostle for a spot in the finals.
It was only fair that Maguire came through to the semis having had the quickest start to the game. World number four, Selby staged a remarkable comeback from 4-1 down to level matters in the eighth frame. However, Maguire quickly regained the advantage and clinched the win in the eleventh frame.
Maguire, in an uncanny manner, said the “wheels came off” after seeing Selby wrestle his way back into the game. However, frame winning breaks of 67, 73, 79, and a crucial 53 in the deciding frame sealed his win.
Elsewhere, the duo of Yan Bingtao and Joe Perry will lock horns, with the winner staging up a semi-final meeting with either Mark Allen or Shaun Murphy.
Maguire raced to a 3-0 lead early on. This he did with breaks of 67 and 73. Although Selby looked to bounce back in the fourth frame, Maguire responded, returning his three-frame lead. However, there was no humble submission from Selby, at least not at that point. The English man with a thrilling charge won three frames on the trot. This charge down to the finish line included a match-high break of 87, to level the game after eighth frames.
Maguire intercepted his dream run, edged one more frame only for Selby to peg him back once again. Maguire then denied Selby the chance to go ahead for the first time in the game. Maguire, with the right composure and technique, marshalled his inner chi to win the deciding frame and book his place in the last-four of the competition.
Written by: Roland Arum