Maguire win sets up all-Scottish final

Stephen Maguire survived a gripping contest with Mark Selby tonight to set up an all-Scottish final against John Higgins at the Welsh Open.

Stephen Maguire survived a gripping contest with Mark Selby last night to set up an all-Scottish final against John Higgins at the Welsh Open.

Maguire won 6-5 against Leicester potter Selby and will go in search of his fifth ranking event title - and first since early 2008 - in tomorrow's showpiece match.

The Glaswegian opened up a 5-4 lead on the back of two centuries in four frames, which left him requiring just one more to win the semi-final.

Selby fought back, with a break of 90 forcing a deciding frame, however in it Maguire took advantage of a poor break from his opponent to open a 67-0 lead. Selby needed snookers to give himself any hope but he left Maguire a red, and when that sank the game was up for the Englishman.

They had shared the opening four frames, but Selby edged ahead for the first time with a break of 65 after the mid-session interval, only for Maguire to fire in a total clearance of 137, taking full advantage of an opening fluked red.

Selby crept back into the lead with a run of 88, but he failed to capitalise on a 44-1 lead in the next frame, and let in Maguire to make a break of 109 in the ninth, which put him on the brink of victory.

The reply from Selby was impressive, as he fired in a steady 90 to make it a one-frame shoot-out for the right to tackle defending champion Higgins, who had earlier ended Ali Carter's challenge with a 6-2 success.

Selby handed Maguire the chance to pile on some points and he rattled in 67 before allowing the Englishman back to the table.

Maguire, who will turn 30 next month, had lost all of his five semi-finals since landing the China Open title in March 2008, and he was determined to end that streak, so when Selby presented him with a difficult long red he was quickly down on the shot.

It went in and Selby rose from his chair to concede defeat.

Higgins awaits, and although the world number one has not been quite at his very best in Newport this week, he has battled through the rounds.

The 35-year-old from Wishaw knows he can compete with the best in the world even when he is slightly under par.

Higgins, playing his first tournament since the death of his father, also named John, said: "There were a few years where my worst was very bad and I wasn't competing for titles.

"But in the last three or four years, even my bad game has been difficult to beat. The tables we play on now are harder than they used to be, and I think to be doing well, you need to have a good all-round game."

And Higgins was granted his wish of opponent in the final, having said prior to tonight's match: "It would be good to play Stephen Maguire in the final tomorrow because he is one of my mates."

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