Milkins Ahead In Murphy Battle
Robert Milkins, enjoying the best season of his career so far, is on target to register another important victory as he leads Shaun Murphy 5-3 in their Duelbits Tour Championship first round fixture.
The duo return to the Bonus Arena in Hull at 7pm on Wednesday evening, and first to ten frames will go through to the semi-finals to take on Mark Selby or Ryan Day.
Milkins, age 47, enjoyed his best ever moment on the baize when he beat Murphy in the final of last month’s Welsh Open, which also left him top of the BetVictor Series rankings and earned him a £150,000 bonus. Competing in this week’s tournament for the first time, the Gloucester cueman is thriving on his regular appearances on the big stage.
Murphy has also been in exceptional form, particularly at the Duelbits Players Championship where he made 11 centuries on his way to winning the title.
The opening frame today took 28 minutes and went Milkins’ way on the colours. Murphy levelled with a break of 70 but lost a tight third frame, then Milkins made a 75 for 3-1. In the fifth, Murphy led 54-0 when he missed a red to a centre pocket, and his opponent took advantage with a 71 clearance.
Another Murphy error – missing the black off its spot when he trailed 58-16 in frame six – allowed Milkins to extend his lead to 5-1. Badly needing a foothold in the match, Murphy pulled one back with a break of 67. The last frame of the session may proved crucial as Milkins had a chance to win it for a 6-2 lead, but failed to convert a difficult pot on the last red to a baulk corner. After a long safety exchange on the red, Murphy created the chance to clear and reduce his deficit to just two frames.