Crucible debutant Anthony McGill made a brilliant century in the deciding frame to beat Stephen Maguire 10-9 at the Betfred World Championship.
Promising 24-year-year-old McGill looked as if he might have blown his chance of knocking out 16th seed Maguire when his fellow Glaswegian came from 9-5 down to 9-9. But McGill underlined his talent with a superb 122 in the last frame to earn a second round match with defending champion Mark Selby. Maguire, by contrast, finishes the season bitterly disappointed having lost his opening match at the Crucible for the third year in a row.
Tonight’s contest had echos of McGill’s final qualifying round victory over Mark King last Wednesday, when he let slip a 9-6 lead before compiling a run of 127 to win the decider in style and earn a first trip to snooker’s Theatre of Dreams.
“It’s not a bad habit to have, to be making centuries in the last frame,” said world number 32 McGill, who reached the quarter-finals of the UK Championship earlier this season. “When I was 9-5 up, Stephen relaxed and I got nervous. But in the end I made a good break.
It was relief and joy at the end. I was so determined to win on my debut. I was very confident before the match and thought I was going to win.
“All the players who have come through the qualifiers are on top of their game, having won three matches. It also helped me to draw Stephen because I practise with him so there was familiarity.
“I was hoping Mark Selby would win last night because I wanted the chance to play him over a best-of-25. I can’t wait.”
Maguire won the first frame tonight with a break of 60, but McGill took the next with a run of 97 then cleared from the last red in frame 12 to lead 8-4. The next two were shared to leave him on the brink of victory at 9-5.
Then came the fight-back from Maguire as runs of 51, 81 and 56 helped him close to 9-8. McGill had half a chance – from 53-0 down – in frame 18, but missed a tricky green on 15 and his opponent took advantage for 9-9.
Early in the decider, McGill took on a difficult red, cut back to a top corner. It found its target, and from that point he never looked like missing.
Maguire said: “I made it easy for him for most of the match, I missed too many easy balls. From 9-5 he stopped going for his shots and I felt I had a chance. But in the end he made a very good break.
“Afterwards I just told him not to freeze. At the UK Championship he beat John Higgins and then he should have beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan, but he froze. He just needs to go out and play his game, and he can play better than he did against me.”