Shaun Murphy ended a four-game losing streak against Mark Selby, emerging a 6-3 victor in their first round clash at the Duelbits Players Championship in Wolverhampton.
It’s Murphy’s first ranking event win over Selby on UK soil in 18 years, a run dating all of the way back to the 2005 Grand Prix. Selby’s recent four-game win streak against Murphy in all tournaments included a famous 18-15 win at the Crucible in the 2021 World Championship final.
However, today’s loss is a big blow for the Leicester cueman’s chances of qualifying for the Duelbits Tour Championship. Only the best eight players on the one-year list earn a place in Hull. Selby remains in seventh position, but Murphy is now hot on his heels in eighth.
The win sees Murphy recover quickly from a disappointing loss on Sunday evening in the Welsh Open final, where he was on the wrong end of a 9-7 scoreline against Robert Milkins. The Magician now progresses to this week’s quarter-finals and will play Ryan Day next.
Breaks of 72 and 75 helped nine-time ranking event winner Murphy to take the first three frames of the afternoon, before four-time World Champion Selby stole the fourth on the black to head into the mid-session 3-1 behind.
When play restarted, Murphy fired in a break of 92 to move 4-1 ahead and the 40-year-old was soon one from victory when he made it 5-1.
Selby showed his usual grit and determination to take the seventh and the eighth frames, but Murphy wasn’t to be denied and came through a 6-3 victor.
“I’m very happy. The result on Sunday against Robert had a huge impact on the draw. I then had to face one of the hardest players in the tournament and one of the hardest players of my career,” said 2005 World Champion Murphy.
“I certainly know that he has had the better of me more times than the other way round. We’ve been playing each other since we were ten years of age and we know each other very well on and off the table. I would pay tribute to Mark by saying that, for all those young players watching and trying to improve, he has never played a single shot in his life he hasn’t given 100% attention to.
“Anyone who plays accuracy sports understands that one of the big pats on the back you give yourself is where shots go exactly where you want them. Not just in the pocket, but exactly where you aim. A lot of my shots are going exactly where I want them. There are a few that aren’t which are a bit rogue, but I am working on them. In general my form has been good all season. It feels as if I’m getting to a crescendo moment and a win is around the corner.”
On the other table, world number seven Kyren Wilson eased to a quarter-final berth with a 6-2 defeat of Zhou Yuelong.
Wilson is the third seed this week after securing the European Masters title earlier in the season, thrashing Barry Hawkins 9-3 in the final.
The Warrior showcased his break building best this afternoon, firing in breaks of 76, 50, 100, 63, 121 and 51 on his way to victory. Next up Wilson plays either Ding Junhui or Gary Wilson in the last eight.