Murphy Bingham into World Championship final

England’s Shaun Murphy reached the final of snooker’s World Championship for the third time in his career at Sheffield on Saturday, seeing off Barry Hawkins in double-quick time.

Leading 16-8 overnight, Murphy lost the first frame when the tie resumed, but he grabbed the one extra frame he needed shortly afterwards.

Hawkins missed an early black and Murphy fired in an 83, clearing the table to seal a 17-9 win, and a shot at Stuart Bingham who edged Judd Trump in a thriller.

Bingham, 38, had seen off Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals and followed that by demolishing Trump’s title hopes with a 17-16 triumph, to set up a shot at Murphy over Sunday and Monday.

Hawkins had started the afternoon with a break of 103, the eighth century of the match, but his hopes had been effectively extinguished on Friday as Murphy established his vast lead, going as far clear as 14-3 at one stage.

The eight centuries match a Crucible record, with that figure having been reached in five matches, three of them featuring Hawkins.

Hawkins said of his loss to the 2005 world champion: “I started off too slow in that match.

“But I won’t take anything away from Shaun – he was phenomenal in the first few sessions. He was clearing up from not easy positions. Definitely the better player won in that match. It’s going take a special performance to beat Shaun.

Murphy, who also reached the 2009 final where John Higgins denied him the title, said of his achievement: “It’s unbelievable. Aside from winning the World Championship or the Masters, let’s say, getting to the final is the best feeling in snooker.

“To have the opportunity to get your name on the trophy and even touch it, be in the same room as it, is hallowed turf for snooker players. It might not look like it but I’m buzzing.

“You realise the next time you walk into that arena it’ll be for real and you’re going to go head to head with another great player for that trophy.”


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