Maguire takes Welsh title after dramatic final
Updated: Sunday, 17 Feb 2013 23:11
Stephen Maguire held his nerve in a final-frame shoot-out to beat Stuart Bingham 9-8 in a thrilling BetVictor Welsh Open final in Newport and claim his first ranking event title since 2008.
Maguire, the world number six, had led 4-2 at one point during the afternoon session, only for Bingham to hit back by winning five of the next six frames to lead 7-5.
Maguire dug deep and won a critical 13th frame where his opponent missed a shot to move within one of victory, and went on to take an 8-7 advantage.
Bingham, who won the last two frames to win his semi-final against Ding Junhui, set up a decider but Maguire's 82 sealed his fifth career title.
The Scotsman had made a fine start as he surged into a 2-0 lead with breaks of 71 and 62.
The players shared the next four frames, with Maguire posting two century breaks, but Bingham managed to take some momentum into the evening session as he levelled the scores at 4-4 by winning the final two frames of the afternoon.
Upon the resumption Maguire showed signs he was feeling the pressure as a loose long pot gave Bingham the opening to piece together a break of 73 to take the lead for the first time.
Bingham had a chance to extend the advantage in the next frame, but he rattled the jaws with a thin cut on a red along the bottom cushion, and Maguire capitalised with a clearance of 71.
Bingham did not let the miss bother him, however, and he responded in emphatic fashion with a superb clearance of 118 for his first century of the final.
Maguire then missed several chances to level the scores. First failing to guide the black past an awkwardly placed red by the bottom-left pocket, before missing a straightforward red when Bingham had let him back in.
The 13th frame was a tight and tense affair, with both players guilty of several unforced errors. But Maguire admirably held his nerve to pot the pink and black and edge it by a point, after Bingham had missed a pot on the pink to take an 8-5 lead.
The Scotsman's recovery gathered momentum as he took advantage of a long miss from Bingham to tie the scores at 7-7, and he regained the lead with a break of 77 which showed some of the fluency he had displayed at times during the afternoon session.
Maguire looked to be on his way to the title when he was twice among the balls during the next frame.
However, a miss and a poor hit-and-hope safety shot allowed Bingham in to brilliantly clear up with a 58 to take the match to a decider, but Maguire was not to be denied.