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Deciding frame defeat to O’Sullivan “still haunts me” admits Maguire

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John Higgins coasts towards World Championship Quarter-Finals as Lisowski leads Robertson

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Jack Lisowski denies 147 hero Neil Robertson in deciding frame epic at The Crucible

Maguire was beaten 10-9 by O’Sullivan in 2005 (Credit: Action Images/John Sibley)

Stephen Maguire admits his 2005 deciding frame defeat to Ronnie O’Sullivan at The Crucible ‘still haunts him’ and is determined to settle the score 17 years later. 

Maguire had reeled off five frames in a row to move 9-7 up on the defending champion, only for O’Sullivan to win the next three without reply and snatch victory.

That First Round defeat came in only Maguire’s second Crucible campaign, and he has since reached the one-table setup on two occasions.

Maguire was beaten 10-7 by O’Sullivan here in their most recent meeting four years ago and will aim to gain revenge when the pair collide in the Quarter-Finals on Tuesday.

On his 2005 defeat, Maguire recalled: “The one that sticks out is the one in the first round the second time I was here, I should have won that match.

“I was strangling him and then let him go. It still haunts me to this day.

“I was playing good stuff then. Who knows what would have happened if I won that match?”

The former UK Champion is the last remaining qualifier in this year’s World Championship, having dispatched 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy and reigning UK Champion Zhao Xintong en route to this stage.

Maguire has lost 18 of his 22 previous meetings with O’Sullivan but believes he has what it takes to test ‘The Rocket’ despite the inevitably of the crowd on his opponent’s side.

He added: “I’ve played him here three times and never beaten him, which isn’t a terrible result. I can just go out and play my game. If I play well, I really think I can put up a fight.

“He does bring a different atmosphere and it’s a good vibe. I think he handles it very well; I couldn’t handle having all of that crowd for you. But he handles it brilliantly, and I think he thrives on it.

“Yuelong was favourite to beat me in the qualifiers; Murphy was favourite to beat me, Xintong was a massive favourite to beat me. It’s no difference to me.

“The key is not to let him run away with it. He won his first session [against Mark Allen] 6-2; that’s a big lead to give Ronnie.

“If you can come out at 5-3 [down] in your bad session then you’ve done well because you can lose the match in the first session.

“If you’re 7-1 down to any of these boys, the odds are you’re not coming back and winning. That’s what I’ll be thinking.”

Maguire last reached the Semi-Finals a decade ago, losing out to eventual runner-up Ali Carter, and is relishing the opportunity to seal a return to the iconic one-table setup in Sheffield.

“I’d love to play in it again, I don’t think I did myself justice the second time I was there,” admitted the Scot.

“The first time was a good match against John; he came back strong and did me.

The second time I was there, I went in too confident and that annoys me to this day.

“I went in and I don’t know who I thought I was to give Ali Carter no respect. Basically, that’s what I did and I paid for it.

“It’s a sore one to this day. I’d like to experience it again and play the right snooker.”

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