• Welsh Open

Maguire wins epic Welsh Open final

ESPN staff
February 17, 2013
Stephen Maguire won his biggest title in five years by lifting the Welsh Open © Getty Images

Stephen Maguire won 9-8 in a marathon match with Stuart Bingham to lift the Welsh Open title in Newport.

Maguire proved to himself in the process that he still has the mettle to win 17-frame finals by putting to bed recent failure in this tournament, including losing to John Higgins in the final two years ago.

Having beaten Judd Trump in the last-four, world No. 6 Maguire carried that form into the final going 2-0 up with breaks of 71 and 62 before clocking up two centuries, 110 and 114, to re-establish his lead at 4-2.

But Bingham fought his way back and levelled matters at 4-4 by coming out on top in a safety battle in the final session before the afternoon break.

Bingham won his third on the spin at the start of the evening session to take the lead for the first time. The Essex man then maintained his buffer by constructing a 118 break.

Maguire had said before the final that if he let this one slip away from him, he would not be able to speak and he must have been at least tight lipped at the mid-session interval as he was 7-5 down following another frame to Bingham.

But then came the crucial moment and Bingham was, in truth, his own worst enemy. He should have seen the frame, and then in all probability the match, home after playing a wonderful snooker. At 40-38 up, the Englishman rode his luck to leave the white a millimetre from dropping into the bottom right pocket with the pink blocking the line to the blue.

Maguire failed to get out of it and but despite everything in Bingham's favour after that, he still ended up losing the frame. Bingham was rattled and erred when trying to pot a simple blue in the next stanza, stunting his break at 40. Maguire did not need a second invitation and cleared up to make it 7-7.

The strut was back in Maguire's game by this stage and he dominated the 15th frame to put him one from victory.

But Bingham did not fold and won the 16th to force a winner-takes-all final frame which Maguire eventually won, showing how much the victory meant to him by punching the side of the table as he closed in on the win.

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