Shaun Murphy continued his incredible form and stormed to a 6-2 lead over Ali Carter after the first session of the Duelbits Players Championship final in Wolverhampton.
The 2005 World Champion has enjoyed a record breaking week so far, having fired in the most centuries ever compiled at the Players Championship. The three he’s made today takes Murphy’s total to nine and moves him ahead of John Higgins’ tally of eight set in 2021. Incredibly, Murphy has now made the five highest breaks of this year’s tournament. That puts him in line for the high break prize of £10,000.
Murphy is aiming for a first ranking event victory since 2020. He came close to ending that drought last week at the Welsh Open, but succumbed to a shock defeat against Robert Milkins. That result gave Milkins a £150,000 BetVictor Series Bonus, denying five-time ranking event winner Carter the payout.
The Captain had looked set for the prize after his victory at the German Masters earlier this month. He stormed to a 10-3 win over Tom Ford in the final to secure his first ranking title since 2016. A win this evening for Carter would see him capture two ranking crowns in a single season for the first time in his career.
The opening frame this afternoon went the way of nine-time ranking event winner Murphy, before a stunning 145 saw him beat his own high break for the week and move 2-0 in front. Murphy had looked like losing the third, but managed to steal on the pink to extend his lead further. However, a vital contribution of 122 from Carter helped him stay in touch at 3-1 down.
The next two frames were shared, with Murphy then making 141 in the seventh to move 5-2 up. The Magician then embarked on a 147 attempt, but couldn’t get properly on the final red and his run ended on 112. That saw Murphy finish the session 6-2 in front.
The will play the best of 19 encounter to a conclusion from 7pm, with the winner taking home £125,000.