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Murphy Into Guangzhou Final

Shaun Murphy won a gruelling clash with Mark Selby 6-3 to book his place in the final of the Evergrande China Championship.

The Magician has enjoyed a supreme start to his 2019/20 campaign and is now into his third consecutive final. 2005 World Champion Murphy was runner-up in the previous two events, to Judd Trump at the International Championship and Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters.

He will be hoping to go one step further tomorrow when he takes on 22-time ranking event winner Mark Williams for the title and the £150,000 top prize.

Defending champion Selby will leave Guangzhou disappointed at missing out on his first title since victory here last year. However, he will pocket £32,000 for his second semi-final appearance of the season, following a run to the last four at the International Championship.

Murphy carried over his red-hot form to the opening exchanges today as he surged to a 3-0 advantage, making a break of 96 along the way.

However, Selby forced himself into contention with back-to-back century runs of 101 and 100 to trail by just one at 3-2.

Murphy moved 4-2 ahead before nerves began to kick in for both players in a tense seventh frame. Eventually, after 53 minutes of play, Selby managed to clinch it and close within one at 4-3.

Triple Crown winner Murphy wasn’t to be denied and claimed the eighth frame, before a break of 88 sealed his spot in the final.

Murphy said: “I am delighted to be in another final. As you get older you get a bit of perspective. Things have come fairly easy to me during my career. I won the Triple Crown and other tournaments. Off the back of the worst season of my life last year I value things a lot more now.

“I’m really looking forward to the final. Any time you play those greats like Williams, O’Sullivan and Higgins it is a special moment. For it to be in a final it is doubly special.

“It would mean everything to win tomorrow. It is what all the hours of practice are for. It is to take those trophies home to your family.”