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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 April, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
O'Sullivan downs Maguire
By Julian Shea
BBC Sport at The Crucible

Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan secured his place in the second round with a relatively easy 10-6 win over Stephen Maguire - but the young Scot's play won many admirers.

O'Sullivan ended day one on top but when Maguire won the opening frame of the second day with his second century break, it was clear he meant business.

The former world champion soon restored, then extended, his lead and the outcome seemed to be a formality.

But he conceded the 15th frame at 6-37 before winning the next to advance.

O'Sullivan admitted he had been impressed by the Scot.

"He's a great player and I think he's got the game to win the title. Snooker is in great shape with the likes of him and Ryan Day coming through," he said.

"Whether or not I won, it was enjoyable to be involved in a game with someone who wanted to match you shot for shot.

"The game's lucky to have players like him coming through."

I think I can win it in a few years
Stephen Maguire

Maguire, at 23 the youngest player in the tournament, could hardly have been given a tougher start than facing O'Sullivan, but the 2000 champion began in faltering fashion.

And when Maguire put together a 121 clearance to take a 3-2 lead, it looked like another seed could be about to fall at the first.

But he wasted a great chance to go 4-2 up and O'Sullivan did not need asking twice, making breaks of 66 and 109 on his way to a 6-3 overnight lead.

Maguire began the second session confidently, with a second century break, but a 73 break by O'Sullivan in the next restored his lead, and he won a battle of wits to take a nervous 12th frame and go 8-4 up.

The Glaswegian came close to a third century break near the end, before O'Sullivan finally secured his expected victory.

Maguire was upbeat about his performance, saying: "If someone had said to me this year I'd win my first ranking event, get to the Crucible and play Ronnie there, I'd have bitten their hand off.

"At the end when he shook my hand, he said 'You'll win this one day'. I said 'I know'.

"I didn't know what to expect before I came down, but it's a great arena. I think I can win it in a few years."

First round result (best of 19 frames):
R O'Sullivan (Eng) 10-6 S Maguire (Sco)

19-110 (60), 67-34 (67), 52-58, 105-16 (69), 0-142 (121), 74-61, 73-1 (66), 109-26 (109), 73-34, 17-112 (112), 73-68 (73), 61-33, 70-59 (59 Maguire), 0-111 (77), 6-37, 70-33




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