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Stephen Maguire fearless after Rory McLeod win

 

By Ross Lawson

Stephen Maguire insists he has no fear about who he plays in the Betfred World Championships after making his first quarter-final since 2012 with victory over Rory McLeod.

The Scot resumed 6-2 up in the Crucible and kept his foot on the throat, winning 13-3 with a session to spare to earn a day off today.

Breaks of 114, 61, 90 and 57 did the damage, with Maguire now set to face either fellow Scot and 2006 champion Graeme Dott or Barry Hawkins in the last-eight.

The winner of that tie could then face John Higgins in the semi-finals - the man who got the better of Antrim potter Mark Allen.

"The performance was okay, Rory had a lot of chances and I wasn't in top form, so it could have been a different game if he'd taken just half of those," said Maguire. "I came out 6-2 and I wasn't thinking about winning with a session to spare, but when it went 9-3 I knew I had half a chance. It was just a case of trying not to put the suit on on Monday night.

"I've never gone all the way, I've never gotten to the final so I can't say I fancy winning it because I don't know what it takes. All I can do is beat who is in front of me and I fancy doing that."

Elsewhere, defending champion Mark Selby remains on the front foot against Xiao Guodong, despite the Chinese star making a break of 131.

Leading 6-2 after the first session, the top seed didn't hit top gear in the Crucible, but still did enough to share the session with his Chinese counterpart, now sat at 10-6 heading into the final nine frames.

Six successive frames had seen Hawkins into the driving seat against 2006 world champion Dott, though the Scot fought back to trail 10-6.

Meanwhile, Mark Allen says his comments lamenting his own preparations for the World Championship after Saturday's defeat by John Higgins were made "in jest".

After his 13-9 defeat, Allen bemoaned a failure to prepare for morning sessions in the marathon Sheffield tournament.

"I don't practice at 10 o'clock in the morning. I didn't get started until 12 o'clock today," said Allen. However, Allen released a statement directed at "anyone questioning my commitment".

"People who take everything I said in last night's press conference literally need to get a life," he said. "Some things are said in jest. I'd be pretty confident there aren't many players out there who work as hard as I do on the table. I am working hard to get things right off it too. Few days off and I'll be back practicing as I KNOW I have the game to win."

Watch the Snooker World Championship Live on Eurosport and Eurosport Player, with Colin Murray and analysis from Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.

Belfast Telegraph

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