The last QF of this year’s Tour Championship was a bit of a strange one. Shaun Murphy made 6 centuries, equalling Stephen Maguire’s record only days after he made it, and still lost. Mark Allen looked at his sharpest best but won. What happened there?
I didn’t watch the first session, so I can’t comment on that one. It finished on a 4-4 scoreline, therefore the second session was basically a best of 9 match.
Shaun made three centuries in that session, out of four frames he won. He was good – very good actually – in the balls but the other parts of his game weren’t where they should be to compete at the highest level. Since moving to Ireland, and practicing with Fergal O’Brien, Shaun’s safety has improved massively, but yesterday it went missing. I can only suppose that, due to the coronavirus, Fergal was unavailable for practice… and safety doesn’t come naturally to Shaun. Also, he missed a few routine blacks off the spot. Rustiness probably.
Mark didn’t play that well, but he stuck in there. You could see his determination on his face. The quote I put in bold in the WST report surprises me a bit. Mark suffered some of his more excruciating defeats, playing at home, with everyone in the crowd, their dog, their cat, and other pets, supporting him and wanting him to win. He didn’t cope well with that. He’s good under pressure when the pressure is generated by the situation in the match, I’m not convinced that he is that good under the pressure generated by the fans’ expectations. He got a few bashings on home soil.
The first semi-final is about to start. If both players play the way they did in the QF, Maguire should give Trump a proper beating. But this is another day, another match and I don’t really expect it to go this way. Maguire isn’t the most consistent player. On any given day, he can be awful or he can be wonderful. We will soon find out which Maguire turns up.