Shaun Murphy sets up clash with old rival after dominant opening Crucible win

Shaun Murphy and Stephen Maguire have booked a high profile clash (Picture: Getty Images)

Shaun Murphy eased into the second round of the World Snooker Championship where old rival Stephen Maguire lies in wait for him at the Crucible.

The Magician looked in very decent nick in a 10-4 win over Lyu Haotian in Sheffield, making his way into the last 16 for the first time since 2021.

A familiar face is already there, with Maguire beating Ali Carter 10-7 as he returned to the Crucible in style after failing to qualify last year.

The Scot was fired up after the fine win over the Captain, giving some fist pumps to the crowd and showing the fight that we have not seen much from him recently after slipping down the rankings.

‘I hardly ever do that, just a wee clenched fist, but it was a tough, tough match,’ Maguire said of his passionate reaction.

‘I’m not just going to go out there and just give it to him. There was a time on Saturday where I felt flat and he was getting on top. I smashed the table [with his fist], I did it on purpose and I felt better – I would rather go out fighting.’

The pair have been battling it out on the baize since they were children, coming through the junior ranks at the same time and still competing on the sport’s biggest stage.

Stephen Maguire came through qualifying to return to the Crucible (Picture: Getty Images)

They have met 28 times in all competitions as professionals and the head-to-head stands at 14-14, but they have not played since Maguire’s 10-8 win in the opening round of the Crucible in 2022.

They have a notable piece of history that is still being talked about 20 years on, when Maguire was docked a frame for not bringing his chalk to a contest with Murphy. It is water long under the bridge, but Stephen Hendry reckons it could still bring a bit of edge to the match.

Hendry told the BBC of Murphy’s performance: ‘I think in general he looks like he’s cueing great, a nice easy first round, stress-free, not put under any pressure and he will be confident.

‘Big match [against Maguire]. They’ve got history these two so a little bit of edge to it, possibly, but that’s what we like. That will be one of the ties of the second round.’

Murphy said of Maguire: ‘He beat me here two years ago, we’ve beaten each other so many times since we were boys, we’ve been playing each other for 30 years, probably more.

‘We’ve had some really good run-ins over the years and I’m sure this will be no different.’

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