Shaun Murphy flew into a 6-2 lead over Neil Robertson in the final of the Dafabet Masters and needs just four more frames to win the title for the first time.
It’s a repeat of the 2012 final at Alexandra Palace which Robertson won 10-6, but this time Murphy is the man in control. Playing the type of snooker which won him four tournaments last season, the Englishman won the first five frames. Australia’s Robertson took two of the last three to keep alive his hopes of a fight-back in the concluding session tonight, which starts at 7pm.
World number 11 Murphy is seeking to become the tenth player in snooker history to win all three Triple Crown events, having captured the World Championship in 2005 and UK Championship in 2008. World number one Robertson, aiming for his second Masters title, will take heart from the fact that in 2013 he came from 5-1 down to beat Mark Selby 10-7 in the UK Championship final.
A break of 64 gave Murphy the opening frame and he came from 30-0 down to add the second with a top run of 45. Cueing with great fluency, the 32-year-old fired in breaks of 127 and 76 to make it 4-0 at the interval. Robertson had chances in the fifth but missed a difficult red to a baulk corner at 32-37 and Murphy cleared with 43 to extend his lead.
Robertson finally gained a foothold with a run of 80 in the sixth, then Murphy’s 69 made it 6-1. In the last frame of the session, Robertson ran out of position on 43, then Murphy replied with 49 before failing to land on the last red. After a safety exchange, Robertson cracked in a mid-range pot on the red and cleared the table to narrow the deficit.
First to ten frames takes home the trophy and £200,000.