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Murphy – I Need To Set Sail

Shaun Murphy scored a much-need 4-2 win over Lee Walker at the Indian Open in Kochi, then compared his season to the Titanic as he tries to avoid sinking to new depths.

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Other than a run to the final of the Scottish Open in December it has been a poor season for Murphy. He has suffered several surprising defeats including one against Adam Stefanow at this month’s China Open qualifiers. That result meant he misses out on the trip to Beijing, as well as March’s Players Championship and Tour Championship which are only for players in the top 16 and top eight of the one year rankings.

So the 2005 World Champion is desperate for a deep run in India to build some form. His last-64 match against Walker looked in the balance at 2-2, but Murphy got the better of frame five then sealed the result in the sixth with a break of 93, the highest of the match.

“The way my season has gone, it’s just about getting wins for me,” said 36-year-old Murphy. “Each match is like a pint of blood, every shot is difficult. I have only got this tournament and Gibraltar left to get ready for the Crucible. I am trying desperately to turn my season around. It’s like a cruise ship  – the Titanic didn’t turn quickly when it needed it to. When you’re on a run of bad form it doesn’t change overnight. I have to keep trying my hardest and hope I eventually set sail.

“I’m probably my own harshest critic, I watch all my matches back and see where I can try to improve. This season it has been boring to watch because there have been so many mistakes. When you are winning matches and tournaments it’s easy to get blase about it.

“Snooker is part of the entertainment industry and I like to play in a flamboyant way, so you won’t see me trying to grind out wins. But I still have to get a few victories so I’m trying to play in a good style but get over the line first.

“I haven’t been in the best of health here, I have been holed up in my room trying to look after myself. I look out of the window in the mornings and see the beautiful scenery around the hotel in Kochi. If I was feeling better I’d be out there swimming in the pool. I’m really pleased we have made the journey to see this place.”

It was a mixed day for China’s Zhou Yuelong as he made the first 147 of his career but still lost 4-3 to Lyu Haotian, who took the decider 74-40.

Defending champion John Higgins saw off Duane Jones 4-0 with a top break of 121.

Elliot Slessor trailed David Gilbert 3-1 and 48-0 in the fifth frame, but came back to take that frame on the colours then won the last two with runs of 64 and 69 to snatch a 4-3 victory. That result means that Gilbert may need to win at least one match at next week’s Players Championship to be sure of earning a spot in the Tour Championship – for more on that race click here.

Peter Ebdon came from 3-2 down to edge out Ben Woollaston 4-3. Iran’s Hossein Vafaei also recovered a 3-2 deficit to beat Dominic Dale 4-3 with a top break of 103.

Mark Davis made a 140 in a 4-0 win over Paul Davison while Luca Brecel eased to a 4-0 win over Ian Burns.

In a repeat of last Sunday’s Shoot Out final, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh scored another win over Michael Holt. Breaks of 83, 56 and 95 helped the Thai to a 4-2 success.