Maguire seeks rankings rise

16 February 2018 10:15:22 EST

Stephen Maguire hopes he can do well at next week's World Grand Prix in Preston and force his way back into the world's top 16.

The former world number two has slipped to 19th as a result of failing to win a ranking title since 2013.

However, Maguire's form has picked up recently and he has reached the final of the Riga Masters, the semi-finals of the UK Championship and the last eight of the Scottish Open.

The Glaswegian will face Li Hang in the first round next Tuesday and hopes his form in Preston will help him to qualify for the Players Championship in March.

"My main target for the season now is to get into the top 16 in time for Sheffield," said Maguire.

"To play those three best-of-19 qualifying matches would be tough, though I have done it before. It's not like the Masters where if you miss the cut off, you are out. In the World you still have a chance to qualify.

"Last year I felt different heading to the Crucible. In the past I have gone there as a top-16 player and then lost so many first round matches. Last year I was buzzing because my game was sharp and I didn't mind who I played, I just couldn't wait to be there.

"I am putting the work in. It's time to knuckle down and give myself a chance to improve."

Maguire is 8/15 to beat Li Hang who is 6/4 to triumph.

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