Murphy has made six centuries in his first three matches
Shaun Murphy reached the semi-finals at the Crucible for the first time in six years, by ending the run of qualifier Anthony McGill at the Betfred World Championship with a 13-8 victory.
Glasgow’s McGill has captured the imagination of the snooker public by winning three qualifying matches then knocking out Stephen Maguire and last year’s champion Mark Selby. The 24-year-old looked as if he might reached the one-table set up when he led Murphy 6-5. But it was world number eight Murphy who fought back to win eight of the last ten frames to set up a match with Neil Robertson or Barry Hawkins.
It’s ten years since Murphy won snooker’s biggest title at the age of 22 and he has been back to the final just once since – in 2009 when he lost to John Higgins. In fact that was the last time he got past the quarter-finals. But having enjoyed the most consistent form of his career over the past 15 months, winning five tournaments in that period, Murphy is now better equipped than ever to go all the way to the £300,000 top prize.
The Nottingham-based player led 9-7 going into today’s final session but quickly saw his lead halved as McGill opened with a break of 95. Murphy hit back with a run of 72 to lead 10-8.
Frame 19 lasted 40 minutes and proved the most important of the match. McGill had a chance to clear but missed the final green to a baulk corner, playing with the long rest. Murphy potted the green and later laid a snooker then added the brown to go three frames ahead. And he went on to win the next two with top runs of 49 and 67 to seal victory.
Masters champion Murphy said: “The way Anthony has equipped himself in this tournament, I knew it was always going to be tough. I want to congratulate him on such a great performance here for the last few days. To do what he’s done as a debutant, to get to the quarters and give me such a really good run, just shows that the lad is going places. We’re all going to see much more of him in the years to come. He’s done it with a smile on his face, he’s enjoyed himself and he’s breath of fresh air.
“It’s a massive deal for me to get to the semis, that’s what everyone who comes to this tournament wants to do, they want to play in that one table set-up. It has been hard for the last few years, having to go home at this stage and watch everyone else battle on for the tournament. This time I’m in it, I’m still punching and I can’t wait.
“I’ve got no preference who I play, I just hope that Neil and Barry go 13-12 on a re-spot until 2am and one of them can’t stand up tomorrow!”
McGill said: “I was completely hammered, Shaun was just far too good. I missed the chance to go 10-9, but if I’d won that match it probably would have been the wrong result, because Shaun played brilliant stuff.
“I’ve learned that the Crucible is the best place ever to play. I love it and hopefully I can come back again. I’m just really grateful that I got a chance to play here. I felt great out there, I loved it.”