Riga Masters: Ryan Day in scintillating form to win maiden ranking title

There was a fairytale start to the 2017/18 season as World number 18 Ryan Day defeated Stephen Maguire to win his first ranking title since turning professional in 1998.

Day cruises past Perry

In a busy final day at the Riga Masters which saw both Day and Maguire play three matches apiece, the Welsh number two was in great form from the outset. He whitewashed Joe Perry with four half-century breaks to set up a semi-final with compatriot Mark Williams.

Meanwhile, Maguire was having a much tougher time against Andrew Higginson. At one stage 3-2 behind, Maguire had to dig deep to win consecutive frames and qualify with an excellent 112 break under pressure.

Thrilling semi-finals set up intriguing final

Both players encountered thrilling semi-finals that went right down to the wire. Day recovered from 3-2 behind to defeat Williams 5-4 with an excellent contribution of 77 to win the contest.

On the other table, Maguire came up against a spirited Ken Doherty, rolling back the years with snooker reminiscent of his 1997 World Championship success and playing in his first ranking semi-final for six years. Doherty was one frame away from the final before Maguire again ended the contest with two successive frame wins.

Epic Day for Ryan

Yet a long day for Maguire appeared to catch up with him in the final. Although he fought hard to ensure Day had to work for his frame wins, the Scotsman fell 4-0 behind as Day made breaks of 59 and 77.

Maguire had shown in his previous contests that he never gives up and an excellent formulation of 119 proceeded a second frame win as Day failed to pot. However, it was too little too late for the number 17 seed as Day won another tactical frame with a break of 59.

A thoughtful approach saw Day over the line with a 5-2 win to take his maiden ranking title, despite not making a century break in his final three matches.