He becomes only the second player to make a maximum in the deciding frame of a ranking event match, after Ronnie O’Sullivan who did so at the 2007 UK Championship.
It’s the fifth 147 of Ford’s career – only O’Sullivan (15), Stephen Hendry (11), John Higgins (nine) and Ding Junhui (six) have made more.
Leicester’s 36-year-old Ford is the only player to make a maximum so far this season and in fact he has made two – the first coming in the International Championship qualifiers. Tonight’s was the 153rd in snooker history.
He’ll win the £5,000 high break prize as long as his feat is not equalled this week.
Earlier in the match, Ford had leads of 2-0 and 3-2, then Murphy recovered to 3-3. But it was world number 25 Ford who finished in style, potting 15 reds with blacks then clearing the colours. He ran out of position on the green but converted a double to a centre pocket to keep the break going.
“Early in the break I was thinking of going up for the blue because I didn’t want the 147 on my mind, the result was more important,” said Ford, who now meets Tian Pengfei in the quarter-finals. “But I kept landing on the black. Once I got to 80 I knew the match was over and I could go for the maximum. I wanted to do it for the crowd because it’s great for them to see one. I only need to make 18 more to win the £1 million bonus!”
On a day of surprise results, O’Sullivan suffered a 4-3 defeat against China’s Mei Xiwen. That brought to an end O’Sullivan’s perfect record so far this season – he won last month’s Shanghai Masters and his first three matches this week, before falling to world number 70 Mei, who is into the quarter-finals of a ranking event for the first time.
After sharing the first four frames, O’Sullivan appeared to gain the momentum with a run of 134 to lead 3-2. Mei got the better of frame six then had first chance in the decider and made 52 before missing a red to a centre pocket . O’Sullivan had a chance to counter but only made 16 before failing to pot a difficult red along a side cushion, and that proved his last shot as Mei added 71.
Mark Allen’s break building class showed in a 4-0 thrashing of Barry Hawkins as he knocked in 60, 89, 100 and 129.
Three-time World Champion Mark Selby eased to a 4-1 win over Xiao Guodong, making breaks of 72, 60 and 50.
David Gilbert top scored with 127 as he edged out Zhao Xintong 4-3 while Ricky Walden made a 124 in a 4-2 defeat of Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, Tian Pengfei’s best break was also 124 as he dominated a Chinese derby against tour rookie Si Jiahui, winning 4-0.
Quarter-final line-up Tian Pengfei v Tom Ford David Gilbert v Ricky Walden Mei Xi Wen v Mark Selby Mark Allen v Lee Walker