Congratulations Shaun Murphy!
Having finished runner-up of both the 2019 International Championship and the 2019 Shanghai Masters, Shaun Murphy came out the winner of a quality and dramatic final at the 2019 China Championship. He beat Mark Williams by 10-9, having been 9-5 up before his opponent went on to win four frames on the trot to force a decider! Scary!
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It is Shaun’s first ranking title since the 2017 Gibraltar Open. Between then and today he had lost in no less than six ranking finals.
Shaun Murphy has emerged with a slender 5-4 advantage after a superb afternoon session at the Evergrande China Championship final against Mark Williams in Guangzhou.
The 2005 World Champion is competing in his third consecutive final, but is still searching for a first title of the season after previous losses to Judd Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan at the International Championship and Shanghai Masters respectively.
44-year-old Williams is aiming to become the oldest winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy won the 1989 Classic at the age of 46.
The pair will return to play the best of 19 frame match to a conclusion at 12:30 UK time, with the winner picking up £150,000.
Murphy claimed the opening two frames today, stealing the second on the final black to secure an early 2-0 cushion. However, three-time World Champion Williams forced himself back to parity with breaks of 73 and 70 to make it 2-2 at the mid-session.
They traded frames when they returned, before a sublime break of 143 saw Williams take to the front at 4-3. Murphy was undeterred and compiled runs of 64 and 133 to claim the last two frames and secure his 5-4 lead.
Shaun Murphy won his first ranking title for 30 months by beating Mark Williams 10-9 in the final of the Evergrande China Championship in Guangzhou.
In a dramatic finish, Williams came from 9-5 down to 9-9, but Murphy kept his composure and took the deciding frame with a break of 69 to secure the £150,000 top prize.
It’s a relief for England’s 37-year-old Murphy to get his hands on a trophy as he had lost six ranking finals in a row since winning the Gibraltar Open in March 2017.
Murphy endured a poor 2018/19 season, which he described as the worst of his career, but has regained form in emphatic style this term. He was runner-up at the International Championship and Shanghai Masters, and has now gone one further to land the eighth ranking title of his career.
The spin-offs include a place in November’s ManBetX Champion of Champions, almost certain qualification for all three lucrative Coral Series events later in the season, and a leap of six places to eighth in the world rankings.
Williams, age 44, had hoped to become the oldest winner of a ranking event since fellow Welshman Doug Mountjoy landed the 1989 Classic at the age of 46. He was aiming for his 23rd career ranking title and first since the 2018 Yushan World Open when he came from 9-5 down to beat David Gilbert 10-9.
This time, he couldn’t quite complete the fight back, and goes home with £75,000, remaining third in the world.
Murphy led this battle of two former World Champions 5-4 after the first session. Williams nicked the opening frame of the evening session on the final black, before Murphy surged ahead with breaks of 75, 76, 103 and 79 to lead 9-5.
A run of 73 saw Williams spark his recovery and he got the better of two fragmented frames to close to 9-8, before compiling a superb 132 to force the decider.
A rasping long red set Murphy up for his 69 to take control of the frame. Williams replied with 30 and needed a snooker on the last red, but his hopes ended when Murphy fired the red into a baulk corner to clinch the title.
“I was getting very uncomfortable as he came back to 9-9, admitted Murphy. “It was horrible – I felt sick, I couldn’t breathe or see straight. Winning isn’t easy.
“I played a shot to nothing on the first red in the last frame, it worked out perfectly and the 69 I made was one of the best breaks of my life bearing in mind what had gone on before. To stand up there under the pressure and take my chance – I’m very proud. It has to go down as one of my best performances.
“If you wrote a list of the ten players you don’t want to make a run at you, he is one of them. He’s one of the best players we’ve ever seen. I had him in a lot of trouble all the way through and still I just scraped through in the end. When he was coming back at me, all the bad memories of the last 18 months came flooding back.”
Here is Shaun’s reaction after the match…
This is the “victorious red …