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Barry Hawkins wary of resurgent Stephen Maguire ahead of World Championship Quarter-Final clash

Hawkins expects Maguire to prove a handful

Barry Hawkins has heaped praise on a reformed Stephen Maguire ahead of their Quarter-Final show-down at The Crucible, claiming the Scot is reaping the rewards of a change in lifestyle.

Hawkins has underlined himself as one of the most consistent performers at The Crucible, having won through to his fifth consecutive Quarter-Final in Sheffield.

The number seven seed followed up his 10-3 rout of Tom Ford in Round One with a commanding 13-6 defeat of Graeme Dott to set up a tasty tussle with two-time semi-finalist Maguire on Tuesday.

Maguire is the last qualifier left standing in the competition and Hawkins has revealed his respect for the Glaswegian both on and off the table.

"I’ve got the utmost respect for him – we grew up as juniors," said Hawkins. "Everybody knows how good he is and it was only a matter of time before he hit a bit of form again.
 
"I think he’s been getting his head down again and knows he’s got to put the work in to get back to the top of the game, where he belongs.
 
"Qualifying at Ponds Forge was a massive eye-opener for him – he said he never wanted to go back there again.
 
"I enjoy the way he plays so, hopefully, it’ll be a great game."

Having dropped out of the world's top 16 earlier this season, Maguire was forced to win three qualifying matches to secure his place in the main event.

He has since dropped just five frames en route to the business end of the competition, thrashing Anthony McGill 10-2 before powering past Rory McLeod with a session to spare.

Hawkins believes the former UK Champion has re-assessed his priorities and is now fully-focused on challenging for a maiden Betfred World Championship crown, but insists it is his job to ensure that does not come to fruition.

"I'm surprised he hasn’t gone on to do better things," added Hawkins. "He’ll be the first person to say that he’s abused himself a little bit over the last few years.
 
"We all like a drink now and then but he’s probably not put the work in as much as he should and maybe enjoyed himself a bit more.
 
"The game doesn’t forgive you if you don’t take it seriously, but he knows that now and is putting the work in and getting the rewards.
 
"He’ll be thinking it’s a great chance for him to get back in the top 16 and go on to lift the title. It’s not that easy, though – there are so many other players that haven’t even got close."

Their only previous World Championship meeting saw Hawkins edge a dramatic 10-9 victory in the opening round back in 2011, though Maguire has won 11 of their 16 meetings overall.



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Barry Hawkins wary of resurgent Stephen Maguire ahead of World Championship Quarter-Final clash

Barry Hawkins has heaped praise on a reformed Stephen Maguire ahead of their Quarter-Final show-down at The Crucible, claiming the Scot is reaping the rewards of a change in lifestyle.

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