Shaun Murphy ended a two-year wait for a ranking title by edging out Mark Williams in a dramatic last-frame decider to claim China Championship glory in Guangzhou on Sunday.
Murphy, appearing in his third consecutive final this season, ended a run of six consecutive defeats in ranking finals to claim the £150,000 top prize for the first time.
The 37-year-old, who finished runner-up in the 2017 China Championship, held off a spirited fightback from the Welsh veteran to edge over the line in a tense decider.
Williams had reeled off four consecutive frames from 9-5 down to send the match the distance, but Murphy dug deep to produce a decisive 69 break to seal glory.
“I was getting very uncomfortable as he came back to 9-9,” Murphy told World Snooker. “It was horrible – I felt sick, I couldn’t breathe or see straight.”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.”I wasn’t aware I had lost my last six ranking finals until one of the journalists told me, maybe that gave me the kick I needed today. “It’s a massive win for me because it gets me into a lot of other events which I wasn’t in last year. It’s rewarding to know that the things I have been practising are working.”
Murphy took a low-scoring opening frame of the final before making a 64 break to double his lead early on.
Williams replied with successive breaks of 73 and 70 to level before taking frame five to hit the front for the first time.
A 54 break from Murphy in frame six was countered by a sensational clearance of 143 from the 2018 World Champion to regain the upper-hand at 4-3.
Murphy, though, responded strongly with a break of 64 to restore parity before following in with a majestic break of 133 to take a 5-4 lead into the second session.
Williams levelled again after the restart with a half century before Murphy rattled off four consecutive frames with breaks of 75, 76, 103 and 79 to charge to within a frame of victory.
Williams, however, kick-started the revival with a break of 74 before battling his way to the next two frames to pile on the pressure.
The left-hander then powered in an effortless break of 132 to set up a grandstand finish, but fell narrowly short of completing the comeback as Murphy made a 69 break before returning to pot a long red and seal his eighth ranking title.
The triumph secures Murphy a place in November’s Champion of Champions and leaves just two places up for grabs.
You Might Like
ROBERT MILKINS CROWNED BETVICTOR WELSH OPEN CHAMPION 2023
Llandudno saw pure excitement in the finals between Robert Milkins and Shaun Murphy on…
ALI CARTER CROWNED BETVICTOR GERMAN MASTERS 2023 CHAMPION
Today we have seen Ali Carter Crowned the Betvictor 2023 German Masters Champion . The…