Stephen Maguire

Stephen Maguire (born 13 March 1981) is a Scottish professional snooker player. After turning professional in 1998, he ranked in the top 16 consecutively for 11 years from 2005 to August 2016, reaching as high as second for two of those seasons. He has won five major ranking tournaments, including the UK Championship in 2004. As a prolific break-builder, Maguire has compiled more than 420 century breaks, including three maximum breaks.

Career

Early career

Maguire began his career on the UK Tour in 1998, at the time the second-level professional tour. He almost qualified for the 2000 World Championships, leading eventual semi-finalist Joe Swail 9–6 in the final qualifying round before losing 9–10, but first served notice of his true potential by knocking out Stephen Lee in the first round of the UK Championship in 2002.

Maguire was the surprise winner of the 2004 European Open. Ranked 41 in the world at the time, he beat well established top-16 player Jimmy White 9–3 in the final. It was in that same season that he qualified for the World Championship for the first time, losing 6–10 in the first round to Ronnie O'Sullivan, but O'Sullivan admitted to being impressed by Maguire's performance and tipped him to be a future World Champion.

2004/2005

The start of the 2004/2005 season saw Maguire establish himself as one of the game's brightest talents. He performed well at the season opening Grand Prix, reaching the quarter-finals, and things improved further at the British Open in Brighton. Maguire defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan 6–1 in the semi-finals, leading O'Sullivan to claim 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'. Although Maguire lost the final 6–9 to his compatriot John Higgins, he more than made up for it at the next event, the UK Championship, snooker's second biggest tournament.

Maguire played some superb snooker on the way to the final, beating the likes of Mark King, Mark Davis, Stephen Lee, Ronnie O'Sullivan and Steve Davis. Davis described Maguire as 'inspired', while O'Sullivan was again rich in his praise for the youngster, claiming 'he could rule the game for the next ten years'. In the final, Maguire blazed past David Gray with an emphatic 10–1 win.

The rest of the season was an anti-climax of sorts however. He lost against defending champion Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–10 in their World Championship first-round match, despite having led 9–7, but he still moved up to #3 in the world rankings.

2006–2009

In the 2005/2006 season, he only reached one quarter-final, showing evidence of a loss in form, especially when losing 4–13 to qualifier Marco Fu in the second round of the 2006 World Championships.

In 2007, he recorded his best run at the World Championship reaching the semi-final, where he lost 15–17 to eventual champion John Higgins having led 14–10.

Maguire again beat Shaun Murphy in the 2007 UK Championship semi-final 9–5 only to lose 2–10 against Ronnie O'Sullivan in the final. In the 2008 China Open, he compiled a 147 in narrowly beating his friend Ryan Day 6–5 in the semi-finals, before edging out Shaun Murphy once again in the final by 10 frames to 9.

Despite losing at the quarter-final stage of the 2008 World Championship in another final frame decider (12–13) to Joe Perry, he became the world number 2 for the next season, his highest ever ranking having severed most of his ties the previous summer, Maguire formally left management company 110sport in the summer of 2008, but returned in October.

The 2008/2009 season he failed to win a ranking event, but did enough to maintain his number two ranking at the end of the season by consistently reaching the later stages of tournaments. His best runs were semi-final appearances in the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship. In the Shanghai Masters he lost narrowly 5–6 against Ronnie O'Sullivan and in the UK Championship 4–9 against Shaun Murphy.

2009/2010

Maguire began the 2009/2010 season by winning the first event of the Pro Challenge Series beating Alan McManus 5–2 in the final.

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. They were released without charge.

Maguire had to withdraw from the first ranking event, the Shanghai Masters, due to shoulder injury. In the Grand Prix he won his first ranking match of the season, defeating Nigel Bond 5–3, before losing his next match 1–5 against Ding Junhui.

At the UK Championship he reached the semi-finals 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 again against Ding Junhui 5–9.

Maguire's first event of 2010 was the Masters. 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.

Maguire then reached the semi-finals of 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 Ali Carter.

He won his opening matches at the last two ranking tournament, the China Open and World Championship, but lost in the second round against Mark Allen 3–5 and Graeme Dott 6–13 respectively.

2010/2011

Maguire had a relatively quiet season, but he did reach the final of the Welsh Open where he led John Higgins 5–2 before being defeated 9–6. However, he followed this up by losing in the first round of the World Championship for the first time since 2005, as he was defeated by qualifier Barry Hawkins 10–9.

2011/2012

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 therefore qualified for the 2012 Finals. He couldn't carry his form into the following weeks Masters tournament however, as 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 German Masters, whitewashing John Higgins and Shaun Murphy en route. In the final he lost 7–9 against Ronnie O'Sullivan, despite making 3 consecutive centuries in frames 2 - 4 (becoming one of only a handful of players to have achieved this) in a high scoring match which featured 4 centuries in the opening four frames. At the aforementioned PTC Finals Maguire was whitewashed in the last 4 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 made it to his second major final in as many months courtesy of wins over the likes of O'Sullivan and Stephen Lee. He played a rejuvenated Peter Ebdon in the final and from 1–5 behind, won seven of the next ten frames to level the match at 8–8. The match went into a decider which Ebdon won to end the eight-hour contest.

Maguire therefore went into the World Championship in very good form and his passage into the semi-finals was largely trouble free as he beat seventeen-year-old 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 ever 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.

Stephen Maguire at 2013 German Masters.

2012/2013

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.

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.

2013/2014

Maguire's first ranking event of the 2013/2014 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 Ronnie 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.

2014/2015

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.

2015/2016

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.

2016/2017

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.

Rivalry

Maguire has a rivalry with Shaun Murphy. In a 2004 Grand Prix match, 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." Murphy currently leads the head-to-head 14–11.

Personal life

Maguire has three children with his wife Sharon.

He does not have to wear a bow tie in professional snooker matches due to a medically certified neck condition.

Performance and rankings timeline

Career finals

Ranking finals: 12 (5 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.