Welsh Open: Stephen Maguire beats Stuart Bingham in last-frame thriller in Newport
Last Updated: 18/02/13 11:11am
Glory at last for Stephen Maguire after winning the Welsh Open
Stephen Maguire stayed cool to overcome Stuart Bingham in a last-frame thriller to secure the Welsh Open and his first major title in five years.
Maguire, world No 6, had led 4-2 during the afternoon session and was looking in the mood for a swift triumph, only for Bingham to hit back five of the next six frames to lead 7-5.
Maguire dug deep and won a critical 13th frame before edging the next two and get within one of victory. But his battling opponent from Basildon had other ideas and set up a 17th frame decider.
An ice cool 82 though proved more than enough for the Scot to bag his fifth career title.
"I forgot what it felt like to be a winner at the end of a tournament, it's the best feeling ever."
He said: "I forgot what it felt like to be a winner at the end of a tournament, it's the best feeling ever. I thought I had thrown that away when I let Stuart back in at 8-7 and that would have really hurt if I had lost that one in a decider.
"I don't know why it clicked for me this week. But I have been playing snooker non-stop since the New Year and I have played so many great players in the last three months, maybe I am just match sharp, but whatever it is I hope I can keep my finger on it.
"It is nice boost leading up to the World Championship in a couple of months, but there are three tournaments before then and if I can get my name on another trophy I would take it in a minute."
Maguire, who beat world No 1 Judd Trump in the semi-finals, had begun this lively contest in impressive fashion, taking the opening two frames with breaks of 71 and 62.
Two centuries soon followed for Maguire as the pair shared the next four frames, but Bingham, who won the last two frames to win his semi-final against Ding Junhui, showed his fighting spirit again and ended the afternoon brilliantly to level at 4-4.
Cracks were starting to appear in the volatile Maguire and Bingham knocked in a 73 to lead for the first time. He wasted a chance to extend the advantage in the next frame, but he rattled the jaws with a thin cut on a red and his grateful opponent capitalised with a 71 clearance.
Bingham was not put off his stride and responded with a stunning 118. It was evolving into a pulsating tense affair with both guilty of misses but it was Maguire who looked the strongest with the finish line approaching, winning the 13th by a single point to make it 7-6 after Bingham fluffed the pink.
A 77 had Maguire sniffing victory but sloppy safety allowed Bingham to clear with a 58 to take it to a decider, but it was the gritty 31-year-old who held on for his first ranking trophy since the 2008 China Open.
Bingham said: "Stephen played really well to come back and he showed his spirit so congratulations to him."