Murphy won his seventh ranking title at last season’s Gibraltar Open
Shaun Murphy hammered Stephen Maguire 5-0 to reach the quarter-finals of the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.
A 62 clearance in the opening frame set the tone for world number eight Murphy, the highest ranked player left in the event. And he followed up with runs of 52, 71 and 104 as he cruised into the last eight, where he will face China’s Zhou Yuelong.
“The first frame was massive because Stephen had a chance but I managed to nick it in the end,” said Murphy. “That set the scene for the first half of the match. I had some good fortune at the right time while he had some bad luck with some kicks which weren’t his fault. On another day it could have been me losing 5-0 and going home so I’m relieved and lucky to get through.
“I played nicely towards the end which gives me confidence. I have been struggling with my game for the last few months which made me re-evaluate things.
“When the top boys go out the rest of us have a look around and think ‘who fancies it?’ When the likes of Selby, Robertson and Trump go home it gives everyone else a better chance and it’s not a negative thing to say that. But you can’t win the tournament in the quarter-finals so there’s a long way to go and there are a lot of good players left.
“I have played Zhou a few times and he is very dangerous, he’s a great player in the making.”
Home favourite Zhou, who knocked out Mark Selby yesterday, wasn’t at his best but still did enough to beat Martin Gould 5-2 with a top break of 51.
Belgium’s Luca Brecel saw off Mike Dunn 5-3 with a top run of 58. Brecel led 3-0 and 4-1, and though Dunn pulled two frames back, Brecel secured victory in the eighth.
Two-time World Champion Mark Williams, who was runner-up at the China Open in April, booked his quarter-final slot by beating Tom Ford 5-3. Williams compiled two breaks of 64 and one of 58.