Magician Foils The Warrior
Shaun Murphy is through to the 24th ranking final of his career, after a sparkling display saw him beat Kyren Wilson 6-3 at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
The Magician’s run to the title match is a continuation of his dazzling form. He made a 145 and a 147 in a single match on his way to last week’s Welsh Open final, which he narrowly lost to Robert Milkins. He has also made the highest two breaks of this week’s tournament.
Murphy is chasing a tenth ranking title, which would see him draw level with Jimmy White in the all-time standings. He is currently on nine alongside close friend Mark Allen, Peter Ebdon and John Parrott.
The 2005 World Champion is aiming to end a silverware drought, which extends back to the 2020 Welsh Open. He can rectify that in tomorrow’s final when he faces Ali Carter over the best of 19 frames, with a top prize of £125,000.
Wilson will leave disappointed to exit before the title match, but he can take solace from the fact he is assured of a place in the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship. Only the best eight players qualify. The Warrior finds himself in third position on the live standings, while Murphy is in fourth.
This evening’s encounter began with a sublime run of 135 from Murphy. At the time it was the highest break of the tournament so far.
Wilson immediately restored parity with an 87 break. The next two frames were shared to see them head into the mid-session all-square at 2-2.
When play got back underway Murphy bettered his high break with a contribution of 137. Wilson hit back with 75 in the sixth to make it 3-3, before a run of 94 saw Murphy lead 4-3.
A protracted eighth frame, in which Wilson vented his frustration by banging his cue on the floor, went the way of Murphy. He crafted a magnificent break of 41 with the balls in difficult positions to take control and move 5-3 up. Murphy then took the ninth to get over the line and emerge a 6-3 victor.
Murphy said: “I’m very pleased. It was a different style match to my previous one against Ryan Day. Kyren was always going to be a tougher test. He plays a slightly different style to Ryan. There was quite a lot of gritty safety in the last couple of frames. I’m pleased to carry on my good scoring of this week.
“I’ve kept saying consistently that my game is going in the right direction. I do believe I will win something by the end of the season. I thought it might have been last week but it wasn’t to be. Robert played phenomenally well and there was so much on it for him. This week is slightly different playing a proven winner in Ali Carter.
“All of our matches have provided good entertainment and high standards. Ali is somebody I get on with well off the table. We will walk away from snooker as friends in years to come but tomorrow we will shake hands and be trying to beat each other with all we have got.”