After an unpredictable season, the World Championships promised an open tournament and it has already delivered after just five sessions, with Stuart Bingham, Shaun Murphy and now Stephen Maguire all departing early.
Stephen Maguire went into Sunday's afternoon session 6-3 down as a combination of luck and brilliance gave Alan McManus the advantage in the first round. The number 16 seed, who sneaked an automatic qualification spot ahead of Ding Junhui thanks to a final four appearance at the China Open, knew that he needed a good start to a crucial session for the Scot. Yet his compatriot had other ideas, as world number 29 McManus took the tenth frame and opened a four frame lead.
Maguire was not ready to end his season their though and he got himself right back into the match with three consecutive frame victories. Breaks of 58 and 97, the highest of the contest, sandwiched a tight and tactical twelfth frame, as Maguire brought the match back to 7-6. However, 45 year old McManus knows how to overcome pressure after reaching the World Championship semi-finals on two occassions over 20 years ago, and he rolled back the memories as he recovered control of the match. Breaks of 65, 77 and 63 in three of the last four frames were enough to see off Maguire as McManus eventually strolled to a 10-7 victory. He sets up a second round tie with Ali Carter on Thursday evening.
O'Sullivan looking strong
Whilst there was drama on one table, Ronnie O'Sullivan was beginning his quest for the title on the adjacent carpet. Questions were raised about O'Sullivan's desire, particularly after a lacklustre press conference, when he lost the opening frame to David Gilbert, but it did not take long for the Rocket to launch off. Breaks of 72, 84 and 71 in the following three frames put the five time champion firmly in control.
Gilbert responded with a 91 break in the fifth frame, before O'Sullivan restored his two frame advantage in the sixth, despite another half century by Gilbert. The world number 22 proved his quality oncemore with a 125 break to give himself hope, but O'Sullivan launched a final assault in the last two frames to give himself a 6-3 lead at the end of the session. The duo will resume the contest on Monday morning.