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Stephen Maguire stuns Neil Robertson with miraculous Masters comeback

Jamie Shaw in The Masters

Maguire completes a resounding comeback (BBC Sport)

Stephen Maguire produced a sensational comeback from 5-1 down to defeat Neil Robertson 6-5 in Round One of The 2020 Masters at Alexandra Palace on Monday.

Maguire, last month’s UK Championship runner-up, looked to be staring down the barrel of a heavy defeat in the elite invitational, but turned the match on its head with a run of five consecutive frames.

The defeat for Robertson signals his earliest Masters exit since 2010, while Maguire records his first win at Ally Pally since 2015.

“It was a crazy game – I can’t believe I won that match,” Maguire told BBC Sport.

“He was the much better player all the way through the match and he should’ve put me to bed 6-0 or 6-1. He should’ve killed me but I could see the game turning.

“I’ve only come back from 4-0 down a couple of times in my career.”

Robertson made a commanding start with a 76 break to clinch the opening frame before swiftly doubling his lead with a stunning 136 clearance.

A dramatic, 40-minute third frame went down to the final black, and it was Robertson who eventually sunk it to extend his lead, before making it 4-0 thanks to a break of 71.

Maguire battled his way to the fifth frame to get off the mark after the interval, but only for Robertson to dominate the sixth and go within a frame of a crushing victory.

Maguire, though, rallied back with a thunderous clearance of 105 before defying a 56 break from the Australian in the next to continue the fightback at 5-3 behind.

The tenacious Scot then added successive breaks of 65 and 81 to send the match into a decider – which he sealed comfortably with a 62 break despite Robertson’s best efforts to play on for snookers.

Robertson, the 2012 Masters Champion, admitted: “There was a lot of rustiness and I’ve not played competitively for about a month.

“He deserved to win and I have no complaints, it’s just unfortunate to go out of the Masters when I had it in my hands.”

Maguire will now face either Mark Allen or David Gilbert in the Quarter-Finals on Friday.