Shaun Murphy put on a superb display to defeat world number five Judd Trump 6-3 and reach the final of the BetVictor Scottish Open in Glasgow.
That sets up a mouth-watering showpiece clash between Murphy and one of his best friends Mark Allen. It’s the Magician who has a 10-4 lead in their head-to-head record. However, their contrasting fortunes so far this season see the Pistol head into the clash as the form player.
Masters champion Allen is enjoying one of his most consistent campaigns on the World Snooker Tour, having already won the International Championship and been runner-up at last week’s UK Championship. While 2005 World Champion Murphy has suffered six first round exits so far this season. However, this evening’s performance showcased an emphatic return to form.
Murphy came out of the blocks at breakneck speed. Incredibly he mopped up the first three frames in just 25 minutes, making breaks of 89, 93 and 70 to establish a 3-0 advantage. A fine break of 69 saw Trump notch up his first frame and stay in touch at the interval.
When they returned Murphy reasserted his authority with a run of 82 to make it 4-1. The 2011 UK Champion Trump claimed the next, before a dramatic seventh frame.
Murphy found himself needing pink and black to move just one from victory. After doubling the pink, he missed a cut-back black. That afforded Trump the opportunity to pull within one, he duly obliged and made it 4-3.
Triple Crown winner Murphy won a tense eighth and then got himself over the line in style with a break of 71 in the ninth.
Murphy said: “To play like that, having improved each match, is beyond my wildest dreams. I came here this week just trying to turn things around. I didn’t expect to be talking about going into the final. I’m really excited.
“Working with Chris Henry again has been very important. He has come over from Bruges with our old notebooks from four or five years ago and we have made some technical changes. That was an immediate fix. Then it is about those six inches between your ears. You don’t realise how far you have let your mentality go until an expert in the field points it out to you. Then you can start looking yourself in the mirror and having some serious conversations.
“Mark and I are very close. We are really good mates. He is in the form of his life. Tomorrow when we shake hands we will want to beat each other, but immediately after there will be hugs and maybe a few drinks.”