Two tight encounters in the afternoon session at the Crucible

Top 16 players Stephen Maguire and Shaun Murphy began their quests to become World Championship winners in the second session of the opening day at the Crucible.

Two tight encounters in the afternoon session at the Crucible
Who is going to be the 2016 champion? (Photo: Getty Images)

Stephen Maguire against Alan McManus and Shaun Murphy's tie with Anthony McGill are left intriguingly poised going into their second sessions on Sunday.

Battle of the Bravehearts

Stephen Maguire sneaked into the automatic qualification spots for the World Championship with a good run in the China Open taking him to the last four, and he took full advantage of his position in the opening frames against Alan McManus. Continuing his jovial mood from the post-tournament press conference on Friday, Maguire produced breaks of 77, 76 and 74 as he took a 3-1 lead after the first four frames.

Yet Alan McManus is an experienced campaigner and was not prepared to let his Scottish counterpart take any more of an advantage. McManus fought back with breaks of 78 and 54 to tie the contest with two frames left of the session. The world number 29 took the lead for the first time in the seventh frame with a fourth half century break of the day, before edging important eigth and ninth frames to lead 6-3 at the end of the day.

Murphy holds a slender advantage over McGill

Playing against world number 30 Anthony McGill, Shaun Murphy looked to have a favourable opening round draw as he began his quest for a second world title. A 61 break gave him an early advantage, before McGill hit back with a 119, the highest break in the afternoon session on either table. World number three Murphy responded with a break of 93, before McGill won the next two frames in a scrappy fashion as the underdog took a 3-2 lead into the mid-session interval.

Yet Murphy came back out in a much better frame of mind, as breaks of 76, 109 and 55 gave him a clear lead before the final frame of the session. Another success for Murphy would have left him in a substantial position for Sunday's action, but McGill was resilient as he put together a 70 break to trail by just one frame at the end of the session.

Shaun Murphy will look to see off Anthony McGill in Sunday's morning session, whilst Stephen Maguire will have to wait until the afternoon session to see if he can claw back the deficit against Alan McManus.