Judd Trump survived a tough challenge from Stephen Maguire at the Dafabet Masters to win 6-4 and reach the quarter-finals.
Trump looked in danger of a first round exit at Alexandra Palace when he was hauled back from 4-1 to 4-4. but the Ace in the Pack won the last two frames to book a meeting with Neil Robertson or Marco Fu on Friday afternoon.
Bristol’s Trump has had a patchy season so far – his best run came at the Shanghai Masters where he reached the final – but he seemed out of sorts at the UK Championship where he lost to Liang Wenbo in the last 32. The 26-year-old won his group in the Championship League last week and looked in sharp form today. He will be confident of reaching the Masters final for the first time.
Scotland’s Maguire made a 61 clearance to win the opening frame and he led 65-0 in the second, only for Trump to claw his way back and take it with a 36 clearance. Runs of 55 and 50 put the Englishman 2-1 up and he stole another on the black in the fourth, clearing from the last red. A break of 69 made it 4-1.
Back came Maguire with runs of 92, 74 and 56 to level at 4-4. Trump responded with a 60 to regain the lead and he got the better of a scrappy tenth frame to secure the result.
“It was a very high quality game,” said world number five Trump, who lives in nearby Chigwell. “I managed to get a good lead, then he played some great stuff to get back to 4-4. In the end I did well to win the last two frames. It’s hard when you’ve got a big lead and then someone comes back at you, it puts you under a lot of pressure. It was important for me to make a break in the next frame.
“This venue is only 20 minutes from where I live so I really want to do well this week. I’ve lost in the first round here for the last two years so it’s a relief to get through. I can sit back and watch it on TV now and look forward to the rest of the week.
“I had a problem with my technique at the UK Championship which i couldn’t correct at the time, so I went away and worked on it and it should be fine now. I’ve always had belief in myself and today’s win gives me more confidence. Whoever I play next will hopefully be more scared of me than I will of them.”