Date of Birth: 13 March 1981
Nickname: On-Fire, Livewire, Maggi
Highest Ranking: 2
Highest Break: 147
Stephen Maguire is a Scottish professional snooker player. He has been a professional snooker player since 1998, ranked among top 16 since 2005 and 2nd in two seasons. He has won five major ranking tournaments, including the UK Championship in 2004. As a prolific break-builder, Maguire has compiled more than 250 century breaks, including 2 maximum breaks.
Maguire began his career on the UK Tour in 1998, at the time the second-level professional tour. He almost qualified for the 2000 World Championships, leading eventual semi-finalist Joe Swail 9–6 in the final qualifying round before losing 9–10, but first served notice of his true potential by knocking out Stephen Lee in the first round of the UK Championship in 2002.
Maguire was the surprise winner of the 2004 European Open. Ranked 41 in the world at the time, he beat well established top-16 player Jimmy White 9–3 in the final. It was in that same season that he qualified for the World Championship for the first time, losing 6–10 in the first round to Ronnie O’Sullivan, but O’Sullivan admitted to being impressed by Maguire’s performance and tipped him to be a future World Champion.
The start of the 2004/2005 season saw Maguire establish himself as one of the game’s brightest talents. He performed well at the season opening Grand Prix, reaching the quarter-finals, and things improved further at the British Open in Brighton.
Maguire defeated Ronnie O’Sullivan 6–1 in the semi-finals, leading O’Sullivan to claim that ‘he had never seen anything like that on a snooker table before’ and also rated Maguire as ‘probably the best player in the world at the moment’. Although Maguire lost the final 6–9 to his compatriot John Higgins, he more than made up for it at the next event, the UK Championship, snooker’s second biggest tournament.
Maguire played some superb snooker on the way to the final, beating the likes of Mark King, Mark Davis, Stephen Lee, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis. Davis described Maguire as ‘inspired’, while O’Sullivan was again rich in his praise for the youngster, claiming ‘he could rule the game for the next ten years’. In the final, Maguire blazed past David Gray with an emphatic 10–1 win.
The rest of the season was an anti-climax of sorts however. He lost against defending champion Ronnie O’Sullivan 9–10 in their World Championship first-round match, despite having led 9–7, but he still moved up to #3 in the world rankings.
In the 2005/2006 season, he only reached one quarter-final, showing evidence of a loss in form, especially when losing 4–13 to qualifier Marco Fu in the second round of the 2006 World Championships.
In 2007, he recorded his best run at the World Championship reaching the semi-final, where he lost 15–17 to eventual champion John Higgins having led 14–10.
Maguire again beat Shaun Murphy in the 2007 UK Championship semi-final 9–5 only to lose 2–10 against Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final. In the 2008 China Open, he compiled a 147 in narrowly beating his friend Ryan Day 6–5 in the semi-finals, before edging out Shaun Murphy once again in the final by 10 frames to 9.
Despite losing at the quarter-final stage of the 2008 World Championship in another final frame decider (12–13) to Joe Perry, he became the world number 2 for the next season, his highest ever ranking having severed most of his ties the previous summer, Maguire formally left management company 110sport in the summer of 2008, but returned in October.
The 2008/2009 season he failed to win a ranking event, but did enough to maintain his number two ranking at the end of the season by consistently reaching the later stages of tournaments. His best runs were semi-final appearances in the Shanghai Masters and UK Championship. In the Shanghai Masters he lost narrowly 5–6 against Ronnie O’Sullivan and in the UK Championship 4–9 against Shaun Murphy.
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