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Maguire closing on last-eight place
Stephen Maguire stood poised to clinch an all-Scottish showdown in the Betfred.com World Championship quarter-finals on Friday evening.
The 31-year-old Glaswegian won six of eight frames in his second session against Cambridgeshire's Joe Perry to pull 11-5 clear, and he returns on Saturday morning needing just another two to reach the last eight.
Assuming Maguire completes the finishing touches of a thus far impressive job, it will be Stephen Hendry or defending Crucible champion John Higgins next for him.
On a big day for Scotland in Sheffield, seven-time world champion Hendry had inched ahead of four-time winner Higgins in their long-awaited first Crucible meeting, as they headed into the evening session.
Hendry, down at 23rd in the world rankings, had to qualify this year but his maximum break against Stuart Bingham in the first round confirmed the 43-year-old as a man in form.
He ploughed in breaks of 81, 69, 93, 123 and 67 to seize a 5-3 lead in the early stages of their best-of-25-frames tussle, which is scheduled to finish on Saturday afternoon..
Tamworth's David Gilbert, who had to win four qualifying matches to reach the Crucible, looked to be nearing the end of his adventure as he slipped further behind against Australia's 2010 world champion Neil Robertson.
World number 68 Gilbert was 5-3 behind overnight and breaks of 76, 77, 82 and 92 from Robertson helped him pull 10-6 clear, needing just three more frames on Friday evening to become the first player into the quarter-finals.
Bridgend potter Ryan Day is a two-time former world quarter-finalist and a third appearance in the last eight grew increasingly likely as he took charge against Mark Allen's conqueror Cao Yupeng.
After knocking out the strongly fancied Ding Junhui in round one the Welshman built up a 6-2 lead against Ding's less well known Chinese compatriot Cao and they will resume on Saturday morning.