Snooker: Maguire seeks to halt Hendry

Stephen Maguire is determined to evict Stephen Hendry from his "second home" and march one step closer to a first Crucible final.

Snooker News: Stephen Maguire

Thirteen years since Hendry last won the World Championship, the great Scot is through to the quarter-finals again after dropping just eight frames in his opening two matches, demolishing Stuart Bingham and John Higgins' challenges.

In his way stands Glaswegian Maguire, an underachiever in Sheffield who is savouring the prospect of taking on the seven-time champion despite acknowledging the threat he poses.

"I've known Stephen for years and I don't think he ever comes into a tournament thinking he can't win it," Maguire said.

"I don't think this tournament is any different.

"He's in the quarter-finals of the World Championship and this is his second home, so he'll only have one thing on his mind: winning that trophy."

At the age of 43, Hendry is seven years into the longest barren spell of his career, having not claimed a ranking title since the 2005 Malta Cup.

He has gone without a world, UK or Masters title this century, and appears to be revelling in the fine form which has unexpectedly surfaced at this tournament.

Maguire is not so sure, saying: "I don't think he'll be as relaxed as maybe he makes out."

But the 31-year-old former UK champion contends that, given the option of facing Hendry in the quarter-finals before the tournament, he would have been reluctant. Their last-eight match begins on Tuesday morning.

"He's won it seven times, this is the place that you don't want to play him," Maguire said.

"I managed to beat him in the UK Championship but it was only best-of-11. I've never had a long-haul match with Stephen, but I wouldn't be surprised if he came out in the quarter-finals of the World Championship and just start playing the way he can."

Hendry and Maguire have known each other for almost two decades, initially as occasional practice partners, then as rivals.

Prior to that, the young Maguire was a devoted fan, the 20-something all-conquering Hendry his first snooker idol.

"Yes he was. I started watching snooker at 10 or 11, and at that point he won everything, he was incredible, and he was always on TV," Maguire said.

"I was lucky enough to practice with him when I was 14, 15, and I probably tried to base my game on the way I watched him on TV."

Maguire says "I've got a better life", when asked if he has a favourite Hendry moment.

That could be just around the corner, though, if he can halt the man from Auchterarder's charge through the Crucible draw.

Hendry also practised with John Higgins in the Wishaw player's early days, and has seen both his fellow Scots flourish in the professional ranks.

Hendry said: "I kind of wish I never let them practice with me as much when they were young, John and Stephen, now that I'm playing them here. Stephen looks very solid."

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