If ever the rhyming nickname ‘on fire’ Stephen Maguire was apt it was last night as the Scot, burning with determination, extinguished Shaun Murphy’s hopes of lifting the German Masters title.
Maguire was superb throughout. This was the sort of snooker he was producing during the golden spell in which he finished runner-up in the 2004 British Open and won the UK Championship.
In both events he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan, who he plays again in the Berlin final today.
With a 13-3 head-to-head advantage, O’Sullivan has the stats in his favour but he said yesterday he was exhausted through glandular fever, and a two session final against an in form opponent is demanding enough without such ailments.
O’Sullivan seemed almost embarrassed by the manner of his 6-4 victory over Stephen Lee yesterday.
It did become a struggle, although it isn’t apparent why he tried to clear the colours left-handed in the tenth frame, which he very nearly lost.
O’Sullivan has always wanted to win playing snooker that is almost perfect, but this is impossible. Nobody, even if they possess his talent, can play perfectly all of the time. Snooker remains a very difficult game.
I hope if he does win today it will make him happy. It will certainly please his fans and he has many of them.