Shaun Murphy ended a three-year wait for a major tournament win, by defeating Ali Carter 10-4 in the final of the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
Murphy last lifted silverware at the 2020 Welsh Open, an event predating the start of the coronavirus pandemic. On that occasion he thrashed Kyren Wilson 9-1 to pick up the Ray Reardon Trophy. An incredible display of break building has helped him to storm to the title this week.
The Magician has conjured a record 11 century breaks throughout the tournament, beating John Higgins’ previous Players Championship best of eight back in 2021. Murphy is also responsible for all of the top five highest breaks this week. The best of those was a contribution of 145 composed this afternoon and earns him £10,000.
Murphy has captured the 10th ranking crown of his career. That moves him clear of close friend Mark Allen, Peter Ebdon and John Parrott in the overall standings. He is now level with the legendary Jimmy White on the all-time list. Only nine players in the history of the sport have won more.
Murphy moves up to sixth position in the world rankings with the £125,000 top prize. Carter ends the week in 12th spot after picking up £50,000.
Victory makes up for the disappointment of last Sunday for Murphy, where another dazzling run ended short of the winning post. The 40-year-old suffered a shock loss to Robert Milkins in the final of the Welsh Open. That result handed Milkins a BetVictor Series Bonus of £150,000, pushing Carter himself out into second position on the standings.
Recently crowned German Masters winner Carter will be disappointed to have lost out to an inspired Murphy today, but he has the consolation of securing qualification for the upcoming Duelbits Tour Championship. Both finalists have comfortably clinched their places in the top eight qualifying positions.
Murphy put on a blistering display this afternoon to surge to a 6-2 lead, crafting runs of 145, 141 and 112 along the way.
When the players emerged for the evening session, Murphy continued his spellbinding sequence of breaks. He embarked upon a 147 attempt, but broke down on 89 by missing the 12th black.
It was soon 8-2 when Murphy fired in a century run of 103, before Carter hit back with breaks of 71 and 82 to remain in the hunt at 8-4 down.
However, his reprieve was to be short lived, with the sensational Murphy composing breaks of 88 and 130 to get over the line 10-4. After the match had concluded he punched the air with joy and took in the adulation of the crowd.
“I’m absolutely delighted, I’m over the moon. It isn’t often you get me speechless, but I’m pretty close. I’d forgotten what to say when you win. I’ve spent the last few seasons giving runner-up speeches. I’d become far too good at that for my liking. It was so nice to come to a tournament, play well and win. I can’t wait to take the trophy home to show Harry and Molly,” said Englishman Murphy.
“A long time ago now I wrote down a little goal of my own and that was to get to ten ranking titles. I’ve been in lots of finals and could or perhaps should have won more, but ten is a very nice number and I’m pleased I’ve reached one of my career goals tonight. It is lovely to join someone like Jimmy White with that number. Who knows, if I can play like I did today there could be another few to follow.
“I wasn’t guaranteed to be at the Tour Championship when I arrived here this week. That was a goal. I am now in it. I’m sure I will get to Sheffield ready. My game will be in the same shape as it is today. Obviously, I can’t wait to have another crack at the Crucible.”
Carter said: “Shaun played great. I think he played the best all week. There wasn’t really much of my game there today. I was struggling to find anything. Normally my strongest part is my safety and I wasn’t finding the baulk cushion. Shaun was just potting every long ball he was looking at. When he is on we all know what happens. It is unbelievable he hasn’t won for three years.”
Article by WST.