Shaun Murphy’s defence of the Welsh Open is over following a 5-4 loss to Stephen Maguire in the quarter finals.
Murphy spoke confidently about snapping a poor run of form on his return to Wales, and he was impressive in advancing through the opening stages.
However, he came up against an opponent who has also bounced back to form this week and Maguire knocked in brilliant breaks in the eighth and ninth frames to take the win.
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Mark Williams’ break-off technique has commanded a lot of headlines in recent weeks.
Murphy may wish he’d adopted the technique of rolling into the back of the pack in the eighth frame.
Leading 4-3 and one frame from the semi-finals, he played a standard break and Maguire found a wonderful pot to set up a break of 90 and force a decider.
Maguire has had a disappointing season by his own standards, and spoke openly about being frustrated at being away from home for extended spells in order to play in the secure environment in Milton Keynes.
But he is a top-class operator when at his best and he showed that with an impeccable break in the final frame.
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Maguire won three of the four previous matches between the pair that went to deciding frames, and he showed his big-game temperament by compiling a superb 133 total clearance to advance to the semi-finals.
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