Snooker: Murphy burns midnight oil to win

Shaun Murphy claimed a thrilling last-frame victory over Marco Fu to win the Maplin UK Championship in Telford.

Despite dominating the majority of the match, and leading by three frames early in the evening session, the Englishman struggled to shake off his obdurate opponent from Hong Kong.

In the best-of-19-frame match, Fu led 9-8 but Murphy took it to a decider and, with the nerves jangling, left his opponent needing snookers with a remarkable fluked pink.

And after a brilliant doubled red, Fu conceded to hand the Yorkshireman a 10-9 victory.



Murphy had not won a tournament match this season before arriving in Shropshire, but the 2005 world champion knocked out Martin Gould, Mark Allen, Stephen Lee and Stephen Maguire to secure his place in the final.

Hong Kong's Fu, ranked 14th in the world, eliminated Barry Hawkins, Matthew Stevens, Ronnie O'Sullivan's conqueror Joe Perry and Ali Carter.

Fu rattled in the only century of the afternoon session, a break of 102 in the fourth frame which followed 99 from Murphy in the third, but was left trailing 5-3 when he and Murphy left the arena.

A poor safety from Murphy in the first frame of the evening session gave Fu an early chance which was squandered as a pink jarred in the middle pocket.

Murphy was back in, with the balls handily placed, and strung together an immaculate 77 to go 6-3 in front.

Both players had chances to make frame-winning breaks early in the 10th.

It developed into a fascinating battle though, and when Fu potted a terrific long green he ran just too far for the brown, forcing him into safety play with the pair tied at 51-51.

Murphy left a long brown in the jaws and Fu pounced on the frame-winning chance. He rolled in brown, blue and pink to begin what he hoped would be a full-scale comeback.

The 30-year-old from Hong Kong seized the advantage with an opening 59 in the 11th frame, before failing to land on a colour after the ninth red.

Englishman Murphy was given a glimmer of a chance and it seemed as though that was all he would needed, however his break came to a halt at 47.

Fu put his opponent in a snooker, and Murphy missed the brown. Murphy was soon needing a snooker on the pink, and he fought for it knowing 7-4 was infinitely preferable to 6-5, but it would not come and the frame went to his opponent.

The 12th frame was going Fu's way, but Murphy hit back only to suffer a rotten stroke of luck when he clipped the black after potting a red and sunk the white. Fu made the most of his sudden lucky break, and tied the match at 6-6.

That signalled the start of the mid-session interval, with Murphy surely welcoming the chance to compose himself for a possible seven remaining frames.

The break looked to have done Murphy good.

Despite miscuing at one stage in the 13th frame, Murphy took it quite easily with breaks of 54 and 40 to regain the lead.

And he took the next even more convincingly, knocking in a clinical 87 which took him into an 8-6 lead.

Fu reduced the arrears to a single frame by claiming the 15th and then levelled at 8-8 after a nervous battle.

Murphy looked in control of the 16th but his break ended at 31, however Fu could only muster 38 in response. But despite taking three opportunities to play his way out of a snooker, the Hong Kong player regrouped to restore parity at 8-8.

Remarkably, Fu then took the lead for the first time in the match with efforts of 43 and 46, as Murphy again failed to take advantage after making a decent start.

But the Yorkshireman regrouped and took the match to the death with a decisive break of 69 in the penultimate frame.



Murphy admitted he had felt under pressure after his miserable recent run.

"It's been a while," he told BBC2 of his title win.

"I don't think I've ever felt pressure like that before, even when I won the world title in 2005. It was even harder because it's been a long time since I even competed at a tournament.

"So to win one of the majors again is massive."

It had been a match of greater drama than quality, and Fu expressed surprise that he had been able to stay in contention for so long given his struggles.

"I never really settled today because Shaun was winning frames in one visit and I was winning on the pink or black, so it was tough to hang in there because Shaun is so tough among the balls," he said.

"I wasn't really scoring enough and I was really surprised to win nine frames today."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Glazier

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...

Recruitment Genius: Office and Customer Services Manager

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...

Recruitment Genius: Portfolio Administrator

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...

Recruitment Genius: Mechanical and Electrical Engineer - Midlands

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot