Maguire breezes into last 32 as he edges closer to top form

The Herald - Sport - - FINAL SAY - LUKE BAKER

STEPHEN MAGUIRE ad­mits he couldn’t have asked for a much sim­pler evening af­ter cruis­ing into the last 32 of the UK Snooker Cham­pi­onship in York last night.

The Glasgow cue­man wasted lit­tle time in see­ing off Jamie Cope 6-0 in their sec­ond-round clash, clinch­ing vic­tory at the Bar­bican Cen­tre in just over two hours.

The sim­ple na­ture of Maguire’s vic­tory stood in stark con­trast to his first-round tie, where he was for­tu­nate to beat Jimmy White 6-5, and the Scot ap­pears to be eas­ing his way into his best form.

A 60 break in the open­ing frame set the tone and he found him­self 4-0 up by the mid-ses­sion in­ter­val as Cope failed to get go­ing. Things didn’t im­prove for the Stoke man af­ter the in­ter­val as Maguire made back-to-back breaks of 63 and 89 to seal his place in the last 32.

But the 34-year-old, who won the UK Cham­pi­onship back in 2004, claims he was battling against sub-par con­di­tions as well as his op­po­nent.

“I have to say, that was one of the worst ta­bles that I’ve played on and it’s not good for the crowd watch­ing,” said Maguire.

“It’s not good enough for a big tour­na­ment like this. It’s un­playable – I was chang­ing my po­si­tional shots and I don’t prac­tise ev­ery day to do that.

“It was just one of those matches that Jamie didn’t get in­volved in. I still needed a cou­ple of chances per frame but it was just a nice easy night.

“It was tough for him be­cause I had two flukes in a break and won the open­ing frame off it. Af­ter the sec­ond or third frame I could sense he lost in­ter­est to be hon­est with you.”

Next up for Maguire is a tan­ta­lis­ing third-round clash with world No.20 Mark Davis, which will take place to­mor­row af­ter­noon. Maguire has won eight of the 12 matches be­tween the play­ers, in­clud­ing the last three, and with a vic­tory all but as­sur­ing the world No.15 of a place at the pres­ti­gious Masters tour­na­ment in Jan­uary, he is aware of the test await­ing him.

“It’s a big match be­tween us be­cause of the Masters sit­u­a­tion and I feel like if I can man­age to take care of Mark I should be safe for it,” said Maguire.

Euros­port is the Home of Snooker, show­ing all ma­jor rank­ing events in­clud­ing the World Cham­pi­onship, UK Cham­pi­onship, the Masters and the exclusive Ron­nie O’Sul­li­van Show. Avail­able on Sky, Vir­gin Me­dia & BT TV or on­line/mo­bile via eu­rosport­player.com

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