Murphy is seeking to add the world title to his Masters crown
Shaun Murphy is just one frame away from the final of the Betfred World Championship having built a 16-8 lead over Barry Hawkins at the Crucible.
World number eight Murphy, who won the title in 2005 and lost in the 2009 final, might have sealed the semi-final clash a session early, but Hawkins won five of the last seven frames to give himself the slimmest of hopes ahead of the concluding session on Saturday at 2.30pm.
Otherwise 32-year-old Murphy will go through to the final to face Judd Trump or Stuart Bingham on Sunday and Monday to compete for the £300,000 top prize. Nottingham-based Murphy has played the most consistent snooker of his life over the last 15 months and is aiming to join the small group of players to have lifted the trophy more than once at the Crucible.
Leading 13-3, Murphy took the opening frame tonight to move within three of the winning line. Fifth seed Hawkins lost 17-7 to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semis last year but this time he was determined to survive the third session and he hit back with breaks of 103, 57, 104 and 73 to win four frames on the spin.
Murphy responded with 90 and 106 – his 11th century of the tournament – to lead 16-7. And he had an early chance in the last of the session but over-cut a red on 22, and Hawkins compiled a run of 76 to ensure he’d be back tomorrow.