Stephen Maguire white-washed Mark Allen 6-0 with what he described as an “unbelievable performance” to reach the final of the Betway UK Championship.
The 38-year-old Glaswegian will face Ding Junhui in Sunday’s best-of-19 frame final, with the trophy and top prize of £200,000 up for grabs.
Maguire needed just 89 minutes to dismiss Allen in a match which most expected to be a closely-fought battle. Breaks of 95, 129, 72, 50 and 100 helped him to an emphatic win with a near-flawless display.
Having won this title back in 2004, he is aiming to become the tenth player to win the UK Championship on multiple occasions. His only other Triple Crown final came at the 2007 UK Championship when he lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
Maguire is aiming for his sixth ranking title and first since the 2013 Welsh Open. He has won two invitation events already this season – partnering John Higgins to World Cup glory for Scotland, and beating Higgins in the final of the Six Red World Championship.
Just six weeks ago, Maguire fractured his ankle while travelling to the World Open in China, and must have feared he would need a spell on the sidelines to recover. He continues to walk with a slight limp, but his game is razor sharp.
“That was an unbelievable performance, I felt strong from the start,” said Maguire tonight. “I felt as if I was going to pot everything. The ones I went for all went in.
“I want the title badly. I’ll enjoy it if I settle down and get involved in the game. I know how it is out there in a final. It’s all about getting off to a good start. These big finals don’t come by that often. I’m pushing 40 now so I might not have that long left.
“It would be special. My son keeps asking me when I’m going to win a tournament. He thinks it’s quite easy! I’d love to bring a trophy back to show the family.
“Ding is different class. I’ve got a lot of respect for him and I love the way he plays. I’ve got my work cut out. I’m going to attack and open the reds up. If he scores better than me then he’ll win but if the reds are there I’ll fancy potting them.”