SHAUN MURPHY continued to ride the crest of a wave of form and confidence to reach the Kreativ Dental German Masters final in Berlin on Saturday with another thrilling victory.
Murphy had twice been on the brink of defeat on Friday, winning the last two frames to beat Mark Allen 5-4 in the last 16 before coming from 4-2 down to edge Ronnie O’Sullivan on the final black of their quarter-final.
The Englishman blasted 3-0 in front against Liang Wenbo in the semis, knocking in a 141 total clearance along the way, but found himself bang under pressure when he lost the next four frames.
Murphy missed two yellows at key moments. The first, towards the end of the sixth frame, was tough and was left to a corner pocket. The second, in the next, was much more straightforward and threatened to derail his bid to win back-to-back major titles, after triumphing at the Masters last month.
But Murphy made a good 65 from a Liang miss in frame eight, then completed a magnificent 145 total clearance and finished off with 89 to win 6-4.
This was majestic snooker. The question had been asked of him, the answer supplied in emphatic fashion.
It underlined that Murphy is not only playing the best snooker of his career but has got himself on to another mental level. He said himself afterwards that a couple of years ago he would not have won the match after the missed yellow in frame seven, this time, in this mood, he responded like a champion.
He has worked hard on the mental side of the game to ensure that, when things go wrong, as they can do at any moment in a top level snooker match, he can recover his resolve. At the end he looked ferociously determined to win.
So Murphy can put his feet up and await the winner of the second semi-final between Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire – two players he beat en route to Masters glory a few weeks ago.
Photographs by Monique Limbos.