• World Snooker Championship

Hendry retires after Maguire beating

ESPN staff
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Stephen Hendry barely put anything of note together during the opening session of his match with Stephen Maguire © Getty Images
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Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry announced his retirement from professional snooker on Tuesday, after Stephen Maguire thrashed his compatriot to become the first player to book his place in the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship.

Hendry, who won the last of his seven world titles 13 years ago, had sparked hope of a fairytale story when he knocked out defending champion John Higgins to reach the quarter-finals.

However, a string of errors left him trailing Maguire 7-1 after the first session in their best-of-25-frames encounter, and Maguire did not let up when they returned on Tuesday evening as he rounded out a dominant 12-2 triumph.

Reacting to the result afterwards, the 43-year-old Hendry announced his retirement from the sport - revealing that the decision had been made some time ago.

I am officially retired now from tournament snooker," Hendry said. "I made the decision about three months ago.

"I didn't tell many people. I only told two or three people, but this is me finished from tournament snooker.

"It was quite an easy decision. There's a few reasons. The schedule didn't help. The fact that I'm not playing the snooker I want to play didn't help. The fact I'm not enjoying practice doesn't help.

"I want to do other things. I've got a lot of commitments now in China, which I've signed up for and I can't do that and play snooker because I would never be at home."

Maguire hardly had to reach his best level in the early stages, notching breaks of 41 and 68 as he advanced to a 4-0 lead. Frame three was gifted to him when Hendry missed an easy pink with the balls perfectly positioned for the clearance.

There was little Hendry could do in the fifth when Maguire hit a sparkling 117, and the lead extended to 6-0 thanks to a run of 60. The former world No. 1 finally got on the board with a run of 65 in the seventh frame, but Maguire ended on top with a 95 to leave himself requiring just six more frames for a place in the last four.

That first session seemed to knock the stuffing out of Hendry, who time and again failed to build on even the biggest chance to start a break as Maguire kept adding frames without being forced into any extended spells in his chair.

It was only a matter of when the match would end, and it came thanks to a 45-break from Maguire, as Hendry decided he had seen enough - not just on the day, but in his career.

On the other table, a much tighter contest looked to be in the offing as Ryan Day built a 5-3 advantage over Matthew Stevensin the opening stages, but the Welshman roared back with a second session whitewash to move 11-5 ahead.

Twice before Stevens has been a losing finalist at The Crucible, while Day is aiming to reach his first semi.

Both players put on a show as Stevens registered an early 86, before Day responded with breaks of 100 and 110. They went to the interval at 2-2, but further efforts of 80 and 57 helped Day exert his authority.

That was as good as it got for him, however, as Stevens reeled off a remarkable run of victories in the evening session to leave him needing just two more to book his own spot among the final four.

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