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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 January 2006, 23:02 GMT
Maguire fights back for Malta win
Stephen Maguire
Maguire rediscovered his form in Malta
Scotland's Stephen Maguire clinched a morale-boosting 5-2 win over Marco Fu to reach round two of the Malta Cup.

The Glaswegian, who was thrashed 6-0 by Stephen Lee at the Masters a fortnight ago, fought back brilliantly from 2-1 down to secure his last 16 place.

Defending champion Stephen Hendry romped to a 5-1 win over Neil Robertson to book his progression.

But Malta's top player, Tony Drago, was beaten 5-2 by Barry Pinches in the final qualifying round.

Maguire was delighted to bounce back to form against Fu at the Portomaso Hilton.

"I was determined to put the first half of the season behind me tonight and as far as I'm concerned I've done that now," said the world number three.

"It was a good match and I played solidly. My safety was good and I didn't miss many balls."

Earlier, fellow Scot Hendry became only the fifth player to construct four century breaks in a best-of-nine match and the first in a ranking tournament on television.

Australian Robertson lost the first two frames but hit back for the third.

But he potted only one more ball in the match as Hendry then rattled in a 142 clearance before finishing off with 103 and 131 totals to seal the rout.

"Neil is a very dangerous player and I went into the match knowing that a good performance might not be enough, but I played fantastic snooker all day," Hendry said.

"It took me a few chances to win the first frame but, after that, I was brilliant.

"When I play like that nobody can beat me but I haven't been doing it often enough to win tournaments lately."

I need every win I can get and that was a good one
Mark Williams
Former world number one Mark Williams was mightily relieved after beating Northern Ireland's Gerard Greene 5-3.

Williams has slumped to 19th in the provisional rankings and would have fallen further had he lost his opening match.

But the Welshman forged 4-1 ahead and won a scrappy eighth frame after Greene recovered to 4-3.

"I need every win I can get and that was a good one," said Williams, a twice world, UK and Masters champion.

"I'm just pleased to win and take some of the pressure off."

Joe Perry, the world number 14 from Cambridgeshire, defeated Thailand's James Wattana to book his second-round place.

Nigel Bond sprang a surprise in the last match of the day by knocking out former UK champion Matthew Stevens 5-2.

Bond, the 1996 British Open champion, cleared with 33 to pinch the seventh frame, having won the 52-minute sixth on the pink.

It means world number four Stevens has not won a match in a ranking event since reaching the World Championship final last May.


SEE ALSO
Malta Cup scores/order of play
31 Jan 06 |  Snooker
Hendry slumps to Wembley defeat
17 Jan 06 |  Snooker


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