Stephen Maguire

Stephen Maguire (born 13 March 1981) is a Scottish professional snooker player. He has won six major ranking tournaments, including the 2004 UK Championship, reaching the final of that event a further two times. Maguire turned professional in 1998 after winning the IBSF World Snooker Championship. He was ranked in the top 16 of the snooker world rankings consecutively for 11 years, from 2005 to August 2016. As a prolific break-builder, he has compiled more than 400 century breaks, including three maximum breaks.

Career

Early career

Maguire turned professional as a snooker player in 1998. He qualified for the 1999 UK Championship before being defeated by Mark King 9–2. Maguire played in qualifying for the 2000 World Snooker Championship defeating Wayne Brown, Nick Walker and Bradley Jones to reach the final qualifying round. There he played Joe Swail, losing 9–10. At the 2002 UK Championship Maguire qualified again, going on to defeat Fergal O'Brien 9–4 in the first round before losing 7-9 to Ken Doherty in the second.

Two years later, Maguire reached the final of his first world ranking event, the 2004 European Open. Ranked 41st in the world, he defeated Peter Ebdon, Joe Perry (both 5–4), John Higgins 5–3 and Stephen Lee 6–4 to meet Jimmy White in the final. Maguire defeated White in the final to win the championship 9–3, a result the BBC described as a "surprise". Throughout the tournament, Maguire commented on that he couldn't believe how badly his opponents had played against him. Later that season at the 2004 World Snooker Championship he qualified for the 32-man competition for the first time. He lost 6–10 in the opening round to Ronnie O'Sullivan, who admitted to being impressed by Maguire's performance and tipped him to be a future world champion.

The following season at the 2004 British Open, Maguire defeated O'Sullivan 6–1 in the semi-finals to reach his second ranking event final. This led to O'Sullivan claiming that "he had never seen anything like that on a snooker table before" and also rated Maguire as "probably the best player in the world at the moment". In the final Maguire met Higgins, but lost 6–9.

UK Championship winner (2004–2009)

At the UK Championship later that year, Magure defeated Mark King, Mark Davis, Stephen Lee, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Steve Davis en route to the final. In the final, Maguire defeated David Gray 10–1. Players praised the quality of the play Maguire had produced to win one of the Triple Crown events. Steve Davis described him as "inspired", while O'Sullivan suggested that "he could rule the game for the next ten years". At the 2005 World Snooker Championship first-round match, Magure led O'Sullivan 9–7 but lost 9–10. At the end of the season he moved from number 24 to third in the world rankings.

The following 2005–06 snooker season Maguire reached only reached one quarter-final at the 2006 Malta Cup. Maguire won his first round match at the 2006 World Snooker Championship, but lost to Marco Fu 4–13 in the second round. The following year, however, at the 2007 World Snooker Championship he defeated Joe Perry, Joe Swail and Anthony Hamilton to reach the semi-final. He played John Higgins and led 14–10, but lost seven out of the next eight frames and lost 15–17.

His second Triple Crown final came at the 2007 UK Championship. He defeated Swail, McCulloch, Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy on-route to the final. Ronnie O'Sullivan, his opponent in the final defeated him 10–2. At the 2008 China Open he compiled his first Maximum break against Ryan Day in the semi-finals. He won the match 6–5 before defeating Murphy in the final 10–9 on a deciding frame. He reached the quarter-final stage of the 2008 World Snooker Championship, but lost in another final frame decider (12–13) to Joe Perry. At the end of the season he finished as world number two. He also retained this position for the 2009–10 season, reaching the semi-final at the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship.

2009–2012

Maguire began the 2009–10 season by winning the first event of the Pro Challenge Series defeating Alan McManus 5–2 in the final. He followed this by reaching the semi-finals at the 2009 UK Championship by defeating Michael Holt 9–6 in the first round, Stuart Bingham 9–3 in the second round and Peter Lines 9–3 in the quarter-final, before he lost to Ding Junhui 5–9. At the invitational Masters event in 2010, he beat Mark King 6–3 in the first round and Ryan Day 6–1 in the quarter-finals, but lost 3–6 in the semi-finals against Mark Selby. He also reached the semi-final stage at the Welsh Open. He defeated Dominic Dale 5–4 in the first round, Barry Hawkins 5–1 in the second round and Mark Williams 5–1 in the quarter-finals, but he lost 3–6 against defending champion Allister Carter. In the 2011-12 snooker season, Maguire's season started poorly with first round exits at the opening two ranking events of the year, the Australian Goldfields Open and the Shanghai Masters. At the UK Championships he defeated Stephen Hendry and John Higgins to set up a quarter-final with world number seven Judd Trump, which Maguire lost 6–3. He made three Century breaks during the tournament, including a 144, which was the highest of the event.

Maguire playing in the 2012 German Masters final against Ronnie O’Sullivan.

He won his first tournament carrying ranking points for almost four years in January 2012 at PTC Event 12 in Germany. He beat Joe Perry 4–2 in the final and stated afterwards that he hadn't practiced at all over the Christmas period. The result meant that he finished eighth in the Order of Merit and qualified for the 2012 Finals. At the Masters, he exited the event in the first round for the second successive year following a 4–6 defeat to Mark Williams. Maguire reached the final in the 2012 German Masters, whitewashing both Higgins and Murphy en route. In the final he lost 7–9 against O'Sullivan, despite making 3 consecutive century breaks. At the PTC Finals Maguire was whitewashed in the semi-finals by Neil Robertson 0–4.

A quarter-final run in the Welsh Open and a first round defeat in the World Open followed, before Maguire competed in the China Open. There he had wins over O'Sullivan and Stephen Lee. He played Peter Ebdon in the final, but trailed 1–5 before winning seven of the next ten frames to level the match at 8–8. The match went into a decider which Ebdon won. Maguire went into the 2012 World Snooker Championship and defeated Luca Brecel 10–5 in the first round, Joe Perry 13–7 in the second and Stephen Hendry 13–2 in the quarter-finals, with a session to spare. Maguire would unwittingly become Hendry's last opponent as the seven-time winner of the event retired immediately after the match. Maguire lost his semi-final 12–17 to Ali Carter, and finished the season ranked world number 4, meaning he had climbed four places during the year.

Welsh Open champion (2012-15)

Maguire lost in the first round of the opening ranking event of the new season with a 4–5 defeat to Rod Lawler at the Wuxi Classic and then could not advance out of his group in the Six-red World Championship. His results soon picked up, however, as he won the second PTC title of his career at the UK PTC Event 1 by beating Jack Lisowski 4–3 in the final. He stated after the win that he was going to put a greater emphasis on his safety game this season. Maguire's form continued as he reached his second consecutive PTC Event final, but this time he lost 3–4 to Martin Gould. Maguire then lost in the second round of three consecutive ranking events and the first round of both the Masters and the German Masters.

Stephen Maguire at 2013 German Masters.

In February, Maguire won his first ranking event title in over five years at the 2013 Welsh Open. He beat Anthony Hamilton, Matthew Stevens, Alan McManus and Judd Trump to face Stuart Bingham in the final. In a thrilling match Maguire came back from 5–7 down and eventually won the match with a composed 82 break in the deciding frame to triumph 9–8. He lost 4–5 to Ricky Walden in the second round of the World Open and, despite finishing third on the PTC Order of Merit to qualify for the Finals, was beaten 3–4 by Joe Swail in the first round. Maguire cruised into the semi-finals of the China Open by seeing off Michael Holt 5–3 and Barry Hawkins and Bingham both 5–1. He played Neil Robertson and led 4–2, but went on to lose 5–6. Maguire faced world number 67 Dechawat Poomjaeng in the opening round of the World Championship and was the victim of one of the biggest shocks in the history of the tournament as he lost 9–10 to the charismatic Thai player.

Maguire's first ranking event of the 2013–14 season was the Shanghai Masters where he was beaten 5–2 by Xiao Guodong in the opening round. He reached the semi-finals of the inaugural Indian Open and fought back from 3–0 down against home favourite Aditya Mehta to level at 3–3 but lost the deciding frame. At the UK Championship Maguire came back from 5–2 down against Luca Brecel in the second round to win 6–5 and also edged past Liang Wenbo 6–5, before beating John Higgins 6–3. He lost 6–2 to Neil Robertson in the quarter-finals with the Australian calling the table unplayable after the match.

Maguire produced his best snooker to beat Joe Perry 6–4 and Robertson 6–2 at the Masters. He faced O'Sullivan in the semi-finals and saw his errors punished by the reigning world champion to lose 6–2. Maguire won three matches to reach the last 16 of the Welsh Open, but relinquished his title by losing 4–3 to 19-year-old Joel Walker. He then lost in the first round of the next two ranking events and withdrew from the China Open to enter the World Championship in poor form. Maguire produced a comeback from 6–3 and 9–6 down against Ryan Day to send the match into a deciding frame but, despite having a chance to win, he lost 10–9. Afterwards, Maguire described his season as one from hell and said he was glad it was over. He ended it as the world number 14.

Maguire whitewashed Judd Trump 5–0 to reach the quarter-finals of the 2014 Wuxi Classic where he lost 5–4 against Martin Gould, despite making the tournament's highest break of 145. In September 2014 he won the Six-red World Championship defeating Ricky Walden 8–7 in the final. However, he failed to advance beyond the second round in the three major ranking events following Wuxi and when Maguire lost 4–1 to Trump in the opening round of the Champion of Champions he hinted at retiring from the game. When he came back from 3–0 down against Yu Delu to win 6–4 in the second round of the UK Championship he remarked that he might seek the help of a sports psychologist in the future. Maguire then beat Mark Williams 6–2, David Morris 6–3 and Marco Fu 6–4 to play in his first major ranking event semi-final in over a year. He faced Trump once again and lost the first four frames as well as being 5–1 behind. Maguire pulled the deficit back to a single frame and had chances to send the match into a deciding frame, but went in-off when escaping a snooker on the colours and would lose 6–4. A week later Maguire continued his recent resurgence of form to win the inaugural Lisbon Open, the first professional snooker event to be staged in Portugal, by beating Matthew Selt 4–2 in the final. During the German Masters, Maguire stated that he had regained his confidence and it would take something special to stop him. He needed two snookers in the deciding frame of his quarter-final match with Neil Robertson and got them when he accidentally potted the black. In Maguire's second consecutive ranking event semi-final he was defeated 6–2 by Mark Selby. He advanced to the quarter-finals of the Welsh Open without facing a top-16 player, and lost 5–1 to John Higgins.

Maguire qualified for the televised stages of the World Championship for a 12th straight year courtesy of Selby defeating Robert Milkins in the China Open, which kept Maguire in the top 16. In the opening round he forced a deciding frame after having been 9–5 down to Anthony McGill which he lost. This marked the fourth time in five seasons that Maguire had lost in the last 32 of the World Championship, and on each occasion he exited 10–9 having trailed and levelled the match. His end of season ranking of world number 15 was the lowest he had been in 11 years.

Decline in form (2015-18)

Maguire and John Higgins lost in the final of the 2015 Snooker World Cup to Chinese youngsters Zhou Yuelong and Yan Bingtao. He reached the semi-finals of the first ranking event of the year by thrashing Judd Trump 5–1 at the Australian Goldfields Open, but he lost 6–1 to Martin Gould. Maguire began his fourth round match against Neil Robertson with a 118 break, but it was the only frame he could win in a 6–1 defeat. He was knocked out in the quarter-finals of the German Masters 5–1 by Graeme Dott and the first round of both the Welsh Open (4–3 to Martin O'Donnell) and the World Grand Prix (4–0 to Higgins). Maguire failed to qualify for the PTC Finals after finishing 42nd on the European Order of Merit. This meant that he needed results to go his way and have a strong run at the China Open to avoid having to qualify for the World Championship. Four wins to the semi-finals saw Maguire accomplish this, but he was whitewashed 6–0 by Trump. Despite achieving automatic qualification for the World Championship, Maguire stated that he felt embarrassed at how he was unable to motivate himself for the event after losing 10–7 to Alan McManus in the first round. He finished a campaign outside of the top 16 for the first time since 2004, as he was 18th.

Maguire beat Barry Hawkins to make the quarter-finals of the Indian Open and lost 4–1 to Anthony McGill. He made a 147 and two other centuries in his 5–0 wildcard win over Xu Yichen at the Shanghai Masters. He then whitewashed Shaun Murphy 5–0 and defeated Hawkins 5–3 and Michael White 5–1 to reach the semi-finals, where he lost 6–3 to Ding Junhui. Luca Brecel beat Maguire 6–3 in the fourth round of the UK Championship and he was defeated 5–1 by Mark Selby in the quarter-finals of the China Open. Maguire was unable to break back into the top 16 during the season and so needed to win three matches to qualify for the World Championship. Victories followed over Kritsanut Lertsattayathorn, Nigel Bond and Li Hang and Maguire faced McGill in the opening round. From 2–2 Maguire scored 447 points without reply and went on to triumph 10–2 in what was his first win at the Crucible since 2012. He then thrashed Rory McLeod 13–3 with a session to spare to reach the quarter-finals and came from 5–1 down to draw level with Barry Hawkins at 6–6. However, from 9–9 Maguire lost four frames in a row to be beaten 13–9.

Maguire saw his form continued to improve in the 2017/18 season. He reached the final of Riga Masters but lost 5–2 to Ryan Day. In December, with wins over Yuan Sijun, Jak Jones, Liang Wenbo, Graeme Dott, and Joe Perry, Maguire advanced to the semi final of the UK Championship again, but was defeated by the eventual champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 6–4. After the UK Championship, Maguire also reached the quarter final of the Scottish Open in the same month. In February, Maguire progressed to another semi final of a ranking event, this time at the World Grand Prix, but he lost 6–4 to O'Sullivan again despite leading 4–2. Maguire qualified for the World Snooker Championship after beating Allan Taylor, Hammad Miah, and Hossein Vafaei, and faced Ronnie O'Sullivan in the first round. Despite leading 4–0 and 6–3, Maguire lost seven of the next eight frames in the second session and eventually lost 10–7.

UK Championship final (2018-Present)

Maguire had a strong start to the season, with wins including Joe Perry and Kyren Wilson, he reached the semi-final of the 2018 Riga Masters but lost 5–1 to Jack Lisowski. In October, Maguire advanced to another semi-final of a ranking event, but this time losing 6–3 to Stuart Bingham at the English Open. He performed fairly well at the 2018 UK Championship and progressed to the quarter final, but was beaten 6–1 by Mark Allen. After his strong performances for the past two seasons, Maguire returned to the Masters for the first time since the 2014/15 season; however, the opponent Mark Selby outscored him 712–190 and lost 6–2. Maguire reached his third semi-finals of the season at the German Masters in February, but was defeated by Kyren Wilson 6–1. At the World Snooker Championship, Maguire won both of his first two rounds in the decider against Tian Pengfei and James Cahill, but was unable to replicate the same feat against Judd Trump in the quarter final, losing 13–6.

In September, Maguire won the 2019 Six-red World Championship (a non-ranking event) for the second time after beating his fellow countryman John Higgins 8–6 in the final. In December, Maguire returned to the final of the UK Championship Final for the third time, his first appearance since 2007, and faced Ding Junhui. Despite losing the first four frames, Maguire managed to crawl back to 3–5 at the end of the first session. In the second session, after making back-to-back centuries, Maguire was only 6–8 behind, but Ding was proven to be too strong at the end and Maguire eventually lost 6–10. The highlight of his season, however, was at the Tour Championship in June, in which Maguire beat Mark Allen 10–6 in the final and secured £150,000 winner's prize. This was his first ranking event title since 2013. At the 2020 World Snooker Championship, Maguire was defeated 3-10 by Martin Gould.

Maguire began 2021 with a win over Selby at the 2021 Masters, before a 5–6 loss to Yan Bingtao.

Rivalry

Maguire has a rivalry with Shaun Murphy. In a match at the 2004 Grand Prix Murphy was involved in having one of Maguire's frames forfeited. As the match was about to begin, Maguire realised he had forgotten to bring his chalk with him. He asked referee Johan Oomen for permission to leave the arena. While he was away, Murphy spoke to the referee; the tournament director Mike Ganley was summoned, and he docked Maguire a frame for not being ready to start at the scheduled time. Maguire later won the match 5–2. Later that year, whilst playing in the final of the UK Championships, David Gray forgot his chalk. However, Maguire let him get it without a frame being docked. After beating Murphy in the 2007 Welsh Open, Maguire said, "That put the icing on the cake, but we've always had a rivalry. I dislike him and I think he dislikes me. I try hard to beat everyone, but it would have hurt more if I'd lost to him."

Personal life

Maguire has three children with his wife Sharon. Due to a neck condition he is permitted to play with his collar open and not wear a bow tie in competition, unlike fellow professionals. Maguire was formally detained by Strathclyde Police on 27 August 2009, following allegations that he and countryman Jamie Burnett had colluded to produce a 9–3 victory for Maguire in their clash in the 2008 UK Championship, but were released without charge.

Performance and rankings timeline

Career finals

Ranking finals: 13 (6 titles, 7 runners-up)

Minor-ranking finals: 6 (3 titles, 3 runners-up)

Non-ranking finals: 4 (2 titles, 2 runners-up)

Variant finals: 2 (2 titles)

Team finals: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)

Amateur finals: 1 (1 title)

External links

Uses material from the Wikipedia article Stephen Maguire, released under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.