Friday 27 April 2018

Shaun Murphy 'buzzing' after booking his place in World Championship final

Shaun Murphy celebrates beating Barry Hawkins in their semi final match during day fifteen of the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible
Shaun Murphy celebrates beating Barry Hawkins in their semi final match during day fifteen of the Betfred World Championships at the Crucible

John Skilbeck

Shaun Murphy powered through to the Betfred World Championship final and will vie for a second title after seeing off Barry Hawkins.

Armed with an overnight lead of 16-8, putting him one away from victory, Murphy had a short wait for a match-winning chance but it came in the second frame after Hawkins missed an early black.

Murphy fired in 83, clearing the table to seal a 17-9 win, to earn a shot at Stuart Bingham or Judd Trump in the title match.

Hawkins had started the afternoon with a break of 103, the eighth century of the match and his third of those, but his hopes had been effectively extinguished on Friday as Murphy established his vast lead, going as far clear as 14-3 at one stage.

The eight centuries match a Crucible record, with that figure having been reached in five matches, three of them featuring Hawkins.

Hawkins said of his loss to the 2005 world champion: "I started off too slow in that match.

"But I won't take anything away from Shaun - he was phenomenal in the first few sessions.

"He was clearing up from not easy positions. Definitely the better player won in that match.

"It's going take a special performance to beat Shaun.

"He's cueing so well and there's not a safe place on the table."

Murphy, who also reached the 2009 final where John Higgins denied him the title, completed snooker's career 'Triple Crown' by landing the Masters title in January.

That followed his previous Crucible and UK Championship victories, and he also reached the German Masters final in February,

He said of his latest achievement: "It's unbelievable. Aside from winning the World Championship or the Masters, let's say, getting to the final is the best feeling in snooker.

"To have the opportunity to get your name on the trophy and even touch it, be in the same room as it, is hallowed turf for snooker players.

"It might not look like it but I'm buzzing.

"You realise the next time you walk into that arena it'll be for real and you're going to go head to head with another great player for that trophy.

"We've got to block it out and play some good snooker."

Murphy almost won the match with a session to spare on Friday, and is looking for a distinctly different outcome to his last final in Sheffield, where Higgins eased to an 18-9 win.

"I didn't really take part in the 2009 final against John," Murphy said.

"So to have another crack at it is what I've been dreaming of since then.

"It'll mean more than the first time if I win it again and I'll be putting absolutely everything I've got into this match."

Press Association

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