Tour Championship snooker results: Stephen Maguire beats Neil Robertson 9-5

Stephen Maguire

Stephen Maguire enhanced an already impressive record against Neil Robertson with a 9-5 victory to kick off snooker's Tour Championship in remarkable fashion.

The Scot has always boasted a head-to-head advantage over Robertson, and back in January rallied from 5-1 down to complete a stunning 6-5 comeback at the Masters.

Here, there was no such drama in what was in the end a convincing win, and yet this match will also be remembered for some time owing to the remarkable standards set by Maguire which, for a time, Robertson matched.

In the end Maguire rattled in six centuries, including four in a row to take control of the match, before stealing what proved to be the final frame to advance to the semi-finals.

To put that into context, Ronnie O'Sullivan made a total of eight centuries over the course of three matches to win the title last year. Here, there were eight in one match, Robertson contributing to the final tally with two of his own.

Maguire may need more of the same in the second round, where he'll face either Judd Trump or John Higgins. But he has always been a player to enjoy in the here and now and here, now, he was smooth and sublime.

"I don't really mind (no fans). It feels like a practice match. It was different, but I can't say I never enjoyed it - I played great there.

"I'll never play like that again. That's a fluke. If I can play half of it, I would take it. Centuries don't really do anything for me, but if you can play half that standard, sixties and seventies, I'd take that.

"I loved getting the call-up - it made me hit the practice table, and get out of the garden. I was thinking the worst. It's phenomenal that we're out there playing again."

The match began with a fluent 108 break from Maguire, which Robertson responded to with a break of 100 to set the tone for what will surely be the highest-standard match of the tournament.

Maguire took the lead for the first time with breaks of 58 and 86, but a 103 break from Robertson - one which began with a slice of fortune - helped him halve the deficit before breaks of 72 and 79 edged him into a narrow lead.

Unperturbed, Maguire responded with a 117 break to send the match into the afternoon interval at 4-4. Anyone who witnessed the first eight frames live on ITV would have been forgiven for believing they'd seen the best, and yet it was still to come.

Robertson took the first frame back, at which point it appeared his fluke earlier in the day might prove the pivotal moment of the match, but then came a stunning, sustained run from Maguire which saw him power into the last four.

Maguire, who reportedly played very little during the enforced break, replied with breaks of 103, 135, 111 and 115, a simply stunning run of snooker which saw Robertson register just four points in reply to 464 from his opponent.

Stunned, the Australian tried to claw his way back but when he broke down in frame 14, Maguire seized the opportunity with a break of 59 to finish the job, ensuring every frame in the match featured a half-century.

The tournament may well have peaked on day one. If Maguire hasn't, he'll be almost impossible to stop.

Daily schedule & results

  • Matches played over two sessions, beginning at 1330 BST and 1900 BST
  • Quarter-finals and semi-finals best of 17 frames; final best of 19
  • * denotes latest score between sessions

Saturday June 20

  • Neil Robertson 5-9 Stephen Maguire

Sunday June 21

  • Judd Trump v John Higgins

Monday June 22

  • Mark Selby v Yan Bingtao

Tuesday June 23

  • Shaun Murphy v Mark Allen

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