Make or Break | Episode Five

Murphy Survives Carter Fight-Back

Shaun Murphy came through a tough battle against Ali Carter at the Dafabet Masters, winning 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with Judd Trump.

Murphy saw an early 4-0 advantage reduced to a slender one frame lead at 5-4, but he made an excellent break in frame ten to secure victory. The Magician is through to the last eight of this tournament for the ninth time and he will meet Trump on Friday afternoon at Alexandra Palace.

World number six Murphy has had a fine season so far, reaching four finals and winning the Champion of Champions. Three more wins this week would give him his second Masters crown having lifted the trophy in 2015.

Carter led by 29 points with just the colours left in the opening frame but failed to escape from a tough snooker on the yellow, allowing Murphy to clear and go 1-0 up. Nottingham-based Murphy got the better of a scrappy second frame then fired breaks of 119 and 87 to go 4-0 ahead.

World number 13 Carter got going with a 99 in frame five then then made a 110 in the sixth. That was the 19th century of the tournament, well on course to break the record of 31 set in 2009.

Murphy replied with a 93 in the seventh to lead 5-2. Both players had chances in the next but it was Carter who took it with a run of 50. In frame nine, Murphy looked on course for victory until he broke down on 36, and Carter punished him with a 93 clearance. But 2005 World Champion Murphy eventually took his chance, with a 76 in the tenth.

“I was very pleased with how I finished the match,” said Murphy. “The score at the interval was flattering, I shouldn’t have won all four of those frames. After the interval, Ali played some really good stuff.

“In the end, it was another Murphy match that should’ve been 6-2 or 6-3 and it was a bit more stressful than that, but I’m happy in the end. I was getting a bit nervous, I was so desperate to win. I was just trying so hard.

“The last thing you want to do is go home and sit on the couch. It was nerve-wracking but enjoyable. I love being out there playing and the crowd was so good, it was a great atmosphere.”

Looking ahead to his next match, Murphy added: “There could be fireworks. Judd can be a phenomenal snooker player, his break-building is only second to Ronnie’s. I’ve got my work cut out. I’ll go out there to play how I play and hopefully, I’ll get to six before he does.”

Carter said: “Shaun’s normally very one dimensional but he completely changed his game for today’s match because he knew I’d probably have the upper hand on his match game. The long pots he went for, he certainly got.

“I had too much to do at 4-0 down but it’s tiny margins. The first frame I lost he needed a snooker and if I’d won that frame then I would be 5-4 up not 5-4 down. All things considered, I’m glad I made a match of it. I missed one or two, but Shaun played really well so all credit to him.”