If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This was the motto which best applied to Shaun Murphy’s day at the Ruhr Open, in which he rode a rollercoaster of emotions before securing the title.
Murphy was set to compile the fourth 147 break of his career in his last 16 match against Joe Swail but, on 129, missed the blue. Against Mark Williams in the quarter-finals he had another golden chance but, on 125, left the green just short of the pocket.
Saving his best for last, Murphy finally nailed the maximum in the second frame of the final, and went on to beat Robert Milkins 4-0. It’s his second successive European Tour success after victory in Bulgaria a few weeks ago.
Once again, it was achieved with an ultra-attacking, confident attitude as a succession of long pots flew in and big breaks followed. Murphy made eight centuries in the tournament, with the maximum the icing on the cake.
At the start of the year he was feeling frustrated, getting close to winning titles without quite doing so. Then he made a maximum in the Championship League, then another a few weeks later in the Gdynia Open, which he went on to win.
Victory in the World Open followed and now Murphy has two more titles this season. He goes to the UK Championship clearly in great form and as one of the favourites.
But he could have been out a couple of times on the final day. Despite three centuries and an 80 he was taken to a decider by Swail. Most seriously, he trailed Judd Trump 3-0 in the semi-finals but Trump failed to close out the match and Murphy, demonstrating great never-say-die spirit, battled back.
Milkins, appearing in his first significant final, was clearly edgy, missing a black early on in the opening frame having nicely split the reds. Murphy soon took charge and returns to the UK with another trophy to add to his growing collection.
His achievements were warmly appreciated by the sizeable crowd. Germany gets snooker. Even if they don’t play in huge numbers, they turn out and support these tournaments with admirable enthusiasm.
They saw a thrilling day’s play as Murphy, walking a tightrope, finally negotiated his way to the other end and the winners’ enclosure.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.