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."

Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Davidson performs his comedy show at Edinburgh Festival 2014
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Buyer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning IT company are currently re...

Recruitment Genius: IT Account Manager

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineers

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Breakdown Engineer...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor