• UK Snooker Championship

Murphy beats world No. 1 Robertson to reach semis

ESPN staff
December 9, 2010
Neil Robertson contributed to a fine match © Getty Images

Shaun Murphy knocked out reigning world No. 1 Neil Robertson to advance to the semi-finals of the UK Championship on Thursday.

Murphy came out on top of a high-quality evening session, triumphing 9-7 to see off world champion Robertson. The Whiston Warrior is now just two victories away from repeating his 2008 UK success.

The players entered the evening session locked at 4-4 after a series of gritty frames that produced just one century break. Robertson was the man to hit three figures, amassing 126 to level at 3-3, only to see Murphy instantly re-establish his lead with his highest afternoon score of 92.

Returning to the table for the evening session on level terms, Robertson and Murphy matched each other blow for blow, with some excellent one-visit snooker being played. The Australian hit a break of 90 for 5-4, so Murphy responded with an 88 for 5-5. Next it was Murphy's time to lead, only to be pegged back by a 120 from Robertson.

The 15th frame proved crucial as Robertson missed the chance to move 8-7 ahead, allowing Murphy to steal the advantage with a run of 49. A quality long red then helped Murphy wrap up the match and a place in the last four.

Murphy will play Mark Williams in the semi-finals after the Welshman beat Mark Joyce 9-7. Victory keeps Williams on course for a third UK title.

The double world champion appeared set to claim an easy victory when he raced into a 4-0 lead in the afternoon session, despite never once hitting a break of over 55. However, Joyce recovered to restore parity at 4-4 with some superb potting, hitting runs of 109 and 91.

Qualifier Joyce, who accounted for Steve Davis, Ali Carter and Judd Trump in reaching the last eight, produced the moment of the tournament during the evening session, setting a new highest break when amassing 143, but Williams consistently dipped in at crucial times with scores of 55, 71, 56 and 45, eventually recording an 82 for victory.

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