Hong Kong Masters Preview

Murphy Fends Off Lisowski Rally


Shaun Murphy remained on target for his fifth title of the year by booking his spot in the last 16 of the Coral UK Championship with a 6-4 win over Jack Lisowski.

PICTURES by Tai Chengzhe

By Mark Rawlinson

Murphy, the 2008 UK Champion, lost the opening frame but then took five of the next six, knocking in breaks of 81, 93 and 99 to lead world number 39 Lisowski 5-2.

Former China Open quarter-finalist Lisowski fought back to win the next two to close to 5-4, but Murphy knocked in a composed 62 break in the final frame to guarantee his progress.

“I thought I had a bit of luck here and there,” admitted Murphy, who won the recent Ruhr Open in Germany. “I thought it was pretty even through the match. I was pleased that when I got my chance in the last frame, I stood up and took it.

“When people ask me on the street who are the lads coming through and who are the ones to watch – for me it’s Jack and Oliver Lines. It’s just the way he hits the ball, he’s a fantastic potter and I think he’s one of the best ball-strikers on tour. If he keeps his head and discipline in the next few years and does the right things then I think we’re going to see a lot of him in years to come.”

Murphy will now face Marco Fu in a repeat of the 2008 final, which he won 10-9. Hong Kong’s Fu saw off Dechawat Poomjaeng 6-3 with a top break of 85.

Ricky Walden, a two-time semi-finalist here at the York Barbican, booked his last 16 spot with a 6-1 win over 1997 World Champion Ken Doherty.

The Chester-man scored heavily in the closing stages of the match and feels he has even more to give ahead of his clash against either Stuart Bingham or Joel Walker. Breaks of 129 and 128 in the final two frames put the gloss on what was already a very solid performance.

“I finished off strong in the end,” said the world number eight, who won the International Championship last month. “6-1 doesn’t really tell the whole story to be honest because I missed a few balls out there and got let off a little bit, but it’s a good win in the end.

“I feel like I’m scoring well at the moment and hitting the ball nicely so it’s just about staying focussed on the job and keeping my concentration.

“I think I’ve got a couple of levels to go up but it’s a different story when you’re out there. That’s what I’m going to try and do in the next game and hopefully I can brush up on the silly little mistakes I’m making.”