Ronnie will need only two frames today to book his place in the semi-finals and break another of Hendry’s records …
Here are the reports by WST:
Rocket Soars To Lead Maguire
Ronnie O’Sullivan opened up a commanding 6-2 lead over Stephen Maguire after the first session of their quarter-final clash at the Betfred World Championship.
O’Sullivan is making a record 20th appearance in the last eight. He now has his sights set on equalling Stephen Hendry’s record tally of Crucible victories by winning a seventh title.
Former UK Champion Maguire faces a daunting task overturning his deficit against an opponent he hasn’t beaten for ten years. The last time the Glaswegian beat 38-time ranking event winner O’Sullivan was in qualifying for the 2012 China Open. Englishman O’Sullivan leads the head-to-head standings by a margin of 18-4.
The Rocket has been in supreme form so far this year in Sheffield and earned his place in the quarters with a 13-4 demolition of Mark Allen. Scotland’s Maguire beat current UK Champion Zhao Xintong 13-9 in the last round.
It was Maguire who took a 22-minute opening frame of the morning. O’Sullivan expressed concerns over his tip in the second frame and was granted permission to leave the arena to attend to it. When he returned, he took the frame and restored parity at 1-1.
From there O’Sullivan surged to take control of the tie. A break of 54 helped him to take the third frame and, despite trailing 55-0 in the fourth, he fired in a break of 70 to lead 3-1 at the mid-session.
When play got back underway O’Sullivan continued to punish any of Maguire’s mistakes. After making it 5-1, he fired in a stunning break of 123 to take a sixth consecutive frame. However, Maguire claimed the last of the session to keep his hopes alive at 6-2. They return for the second session of this best of 25 tie at 7pm.
O’Sullivan Closes In On Semi-Finals
Ronnie O’Sullivan is just two frames away from a record 13th Crucible semi-final as he leads Stephen Maguire 11-5 in their Betfred World Championship quarter-final clash.
O’Sullivan pulled away from 6-4 to take five of the last six frames in the second session as Maguire’s challenge faltered. They return at 10am on Wednesday, with first to 13 frames to go through to the last four in Sheffield to face John Higgins or Jack Lisowski.
World number one O’Sullivan has already set a new record for quarter-final appearances – with 20 – and if he advances to the single table situation he will move one ahead of Stephen Hendry’s tally of 12 semis. Maguire has lost his three previous Crucible meetings with O’Sullivan and will need to take eight of the last nine frames to avoid another defeat.
Trailing 6-2 after the first session, Maguire hit back this evening with breaks of 62 and 73 to take the first two frames and close to 6-4. The Scot had first chance in frame 11 but made just 9 before missing a red to a centre pocket. O’Sullivan capitalised with a run of 64 to go 7-4 ahead, and he made a 55 in the next as he restored his four-frame cushion at the interval.
Maguire led 22-18 in frame 13 when his botched safety shot gifted his opponent a scoring opportunity, and six-time champion O’Sullivan made 69 to stretch his lead to 9-4. Soon his advantage was six frames courtesy of a run of 94, just missing out on a seventh century of the tournament when the pink stayed out of a centre pocket.
Early in frame 15, Maguire’s attempted long red missed his target and he went in-off, O’Sullivan punishing him again with a 73 for 11-4. World number 40 Maguire, who had to win two qualifying matches just to make it to the televised stages, made a 66 in the last of the session but still needs a career-best fight-back in the morning.
It was a strange match in many ways.
Right from the start it brought a very unusual situation on the table…
This was what happenend in the first frame, shared by Eurosport on their YouTube Channel:
Overall Ronnie didn’t play well, and was clearly frustrated with the tip issues. Now, it’s very difficult to play well in every match/session in such a long tournament. The tip/cue issues … that’s another story. We shall see.
The match isn’t over but Stephen needs to win this morning session by 8-1 or better to stay in the tournament. It’s not impossible but, obviously, extremely difficult and unlikely.