Masters snooker: Mark Williams beats Stephen Maguire in opener

Mark Williams
Williams won the Masters in 1998 and 2003, beating Stephen Hendry both times

World number two Mark Williams beat Stephen Maguire 6-4 in the first round of the Masters at Alexandra Palace.

The Welshman, who has reached the final of both ranking tournaments this season, was in imperious form as he stormed to a 4-0 lead at the interval.

Scot Maguire responded brilliantly by winning four of the next five, but Williams seized his chance in the 10th frame to secure his place in round two.

Williams will face either Mark Allen or Neil Robertson, who play on Tuesday.

Maguire arrived in London in good form having won a Players' Tour Championship event in Munich earlier this month.

However, it was Williams, a two-time Masters champion, who stole the early advantage, taking the opener despite Maguire recovering from needing a snooker.

A fluent 72 doubled the Welshman's advantage and a fluked opening red in the next allowed him to make a frame-winning 64.

Maguire's pot success hovered around the 80% mark as Williams latched on to a loose safety shot to score a 53 for a 4-0 lead.

After the interval, Maguire found some form to take the next two frames, but a missed green in the seventh allowed Williams to snatch it and move to within a frame of victory.

A missed blue from Williams allowed Maguire to reduce his arrears and a 77, the Scot's highest break of the match, increased the tension to make it 5-4.

Maguire had chances to force a decider in the 10th, but Williams sunk a red into the right middle and sealed the match with a break of 51.

Judd Trump, who won his maiden UK Championship title in December, begins his quest for a first Masters title against Stuart Bingham at 1230 GMT on Monday.

Later that evening, world number six Shaun Murphy takes on Martin Gould, who is making his debut in the event, in the evening session at 1930 GMT.