Maguire Boosts Crucible Hopes
Stephen Maguire kept alive his chances of an automatic place at the World Championship by beating Jack Lisowski 5-2 in the last 32 of the China Open.
Ding Junhui’s first round exit at the tournament in Beijing has left the door open for Maguire to climb the projected rankings. He must at least reach the semi-finals to overtake Ding and have a chance of being one of the 16 players who gain an automatic spot at the Crucible rather than having to win three qualifying matches.
Breaks of 60 and 101 helped Glasgow’s Maguire build a 4-0 lead over Lisowski and he went on to seal victory in frame seven.
“I played a bit better than I did in my first match,” said Maguire, who will now meet Dominic Dale or Darryl Hill in the last 16. “Jack wasn’t at his best and he made it a little bit easy for me. I’ve been in China for two weeks so I’m acclimatised and my sleep pattern has been good, I am sleeping all through the night and that makes a difference. I feel a lot fresher than I usually do in China.
“The top 16 situation is at the back of my mind but it doesn’t add any extra motivation for me because I try hard in every match anyway. I’m just trying to take one match at a time, and if I don’t make it it’s my own fault.”
Kyren Wilson saw his hopes of a top 16 spot end with a 5-1 defeat against Rod Lawler, whose top break was 87.
Players Championship runner-up Ricky Walden saw off Ryan Day 5-3 with a top break of 76.
World Grand Prix champion Shaun Murphy saw off David Grace 5-3 with a top run of 78 while China’s Tian Pengfei edged out Barry Hawkins 5-4.
Noppon Saengkham, who knocked out Neil Robertson, kept his run going with a 5-4 win over Ben Woollaston thanks to a break of 64 in the deciding frame.
John Higgins, seeking a second consecutive ranking title in China having won the International Championship, beat Mark Joyce 5-1 with a top break of 88.