Shaun Murphy battled through an epic late night clash with China’s Yan Bingtao 6-5 to reach the ManBetX Welsh Open final.
With the clock past midnight, 2005 World Champion Murphy steeled himself to fire in a century run of 109 and emphatically clinch the deciding frame. Both players struggled to produce their best form in a clash which lasted four hours and 13 minutes. However, it was Murphy who held his nerve in the crucial closing stages.
The Magician will now face Kyren Wilson over the best of 17 frames in tomorrow’s final, with £70,000 and the Ray Reardon Trophy on the line. There will be a maiden Welsh Open title for whoever wins tomorrow. However, Murphy has previously competed in the final of this event, when he was runner-up Stephen Lee in 2006.
Yan, who celebrates his 20th birthday on Sunday, had taken the first two frames, before four on the bounce from Murphy saw the Englishman lead 4-2. Riga Masters champion Yan battled back to lead 5-4, but Murphy claimed the last two frames to seal his place in the final.
“The match didn’t go the way either of us wanted. You just have to play what is in front of you,” said eight-time ranking event winner Murphy. “When we started the game he was 19, not that I would say it was a long game, but he did have a birthday half way through it! He is a phenomenal player and he is going to be around forever.
“It is a good thing that I have a decent trophy cabinet at home because on that performance Kyren will be licking his lips. If he plays like he did today and I play like that there is only one winner. He has been on red-hot form in recent weeks.
“Relief is the overriding feeling. I am looking forward to getting some rest and coming back tomorrow.”