STEPHEN Maguire will have to come back from behind if he is to avoid an early exit in this year’s World Championship after Ryan Day dominated the opening session.
The Welshman, who knocked Ding Junhui out of the first round two years ago, won five frames on the bounce before taking a 6-3 overnight lead in the first round encounter.
Maguire, ranked number 13 in the world, suffered a first round exit at the Crucible last year losing to Thailand’s Dechawat Poomjaeng and if Day continues to perform as solidly as he did today then history could repeat itself for the Glaswegian.
However it was Maguire who started the brighter out of the two as a break of 72 saw him win the opening frame.
Day, who reached the semi-finals of this year’s German Masters, replied brilliantly with the tournament’s highest break so far 130 before a run of 75 put Maguire back in front at 2-1.
Day took the next two frames either side of the mid-session interval to go ahead for the first time before a break of 61 put him 4-2 ahead.
Maguire looked favourite for the seventh frame but fell deeper into trouble when Day fought back from 56-0 down to open up a 5-2 lead. That soon extended to 6-2 thanks to a run of 47.
But the Scotsman managed to stop the rot and in doing so avoided a potential 7-2 deficit as an important break of 38 reduced his arrears to 6-3 before the close. The match concludes on Sunday evening.
And the opening afternoon also proved to be a good one for another qualifier as Jamie Cope came storming back to take a slender overnight lead against Shaun Murphy.
Breaks of 75 and 40 helped Cope, who his playing in the World Championship for the first time since 2011, to a 2-1 lead. But this season’s Haikou World Open winner Murphy hit back in impressive fashion as breaks of 70, 87 and another 70 earned him a 4-2 lead.
But credit must go to Cope who carried on battling away and the next three frames saw him get his rewards.
Breaks of 36 and 30 got Cope back to 4-3 before he punished a miss on the black from Murphy to level at 4-4. A break of 58 proved enough to take the final frame as Cope edged back ahead.
The match comes to a finish on Sunday evening.