The former world champion Shaun Murphy survived a real scare to keep his World Championship hopes alive in Sheffield yesterday.
Murphy, a Crucible winner in 2005, was fancied to cruise to victory against Gerard Greene having established a commanding 8-1 overnight lead. But the world No 3 struggled to get over the winning line in the pair's best-of-19 frame contest as Greene, a qualifier from Kent, impressed by winning five frames on the bounce to heap on the pressure. Victory, though, was eventually assured when Murphy held his nerve to compile a fine break of 87 to clinch a 10-7 victory.
"To be fair to Gerard he didn't let me win easy," said Murphy, who now faces current UK champion Ding Junhui in the next round. "At no time did I think I was going to lose the match because the gremlins weren't that bad, but it would have been so nice to have won 10-1. I never started to question my own ability, I've practised very hard since I was eight years old and I know that I can rely on my games when it matters."
Mark Allen became the first player to make 146 at the Crucible as he moved 5-3 up on Mark Davis. Allen had a great chance of a 147 in the sixth frame but after six reds he lost position by a fraction and had to take pink rather than black. But, as if to prove a point to himself, he went after the 146 and brilliantly reached his target. He is now the front-runner for the highest break prize, which pays out £10,000.