Martin Gould’s marvellous Betfred World Championship campaign continued as he crushed Stephen Maguire 10-3 to reach the last 16.
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If Gould had lost his first qualifying match last month he would have been relegated from the pro tour and facing at least a year away from the circuit, as he had not entered Q School. But having scored three victories to make it to the Crucible, the talented 38-year-old is now on the crest of a wave. He made four centuries in a tremendous display against Maguire as he set up a second round match with Kyren Wilson.
Londoner Gould is through to the last 16 in Sheffield for the third time, having reached the same stage in 2010 and 2011. He won the German Masters in 2016 but subsequently suffered a slump in form which has seen him drop to 60th in the world. This is his first run to the last 16 of a ranking event for nearly two years.
Glasgow’s Maguire came into this event as one of the favourites having won the Tour Championship in June. But he couldn’t replicate that form and has now lost in the first round nine times in 17 Crucible appearances
Most of the damage was done by Gould in the first session, firing breaks of 103, 103, 100 and 103 as he built a 7-2 lead. He got the better of a scrappy opening frame tonight to extend his lead, then made a 54 in the next as he went 9-2 up.
Maguire set about a 147 attempt in frame 12 and got to 96 before losing position with three reds left. That made it 9-3 but Gould took frame 13 with a run of 51 to seal his sixth win in as many meetings with Maguire.
“I loved it out there,” said Gould. “I haven’t enjoyed snooker for the last couple of years but I did tonight. I played really well in the first session, it just felt like a practice match. My form has been there waiting to come out, and in the first session everything came together, it was one of the best matches I have played. Stephen brings the best out of me because I always know I have to play well to beat him.
“I don’t want the run to end here. Kyren will be a tough opponent and I’ll look forward to that challenge.”