Shaun Murphy is the first player into the final of the 2015 German Masters after an entertaining 6-4 victory over Liang Wenbo in Berlin.
In front of a capacity audience inside the fabulous Tempodrom arena, the Masters champion held his nerve despite a mid-match wobble to see off the spirited challenge from his Chinese opponent.
Like in his previous two rounds against Mark Allen and Ronnie O’Sullivan, Murphy raced into an early lead and underlined his status as the overwhelming favourite of the semi-final.
The 32 year-old punished mistakes from a nervy Liang in the first and third frames either side of a wonderful 141 total clearance to establish an early 3-0 advantage.
However, for a third straight tie the ‘Magician’ was arguably tricked into a false sense of security and surrendered four frames on the bounce to trail by 4-3.
At this point, with runs of 90 and 106, Liang was beginning to play his own brand of punishing snooker and when he took the seventh on the black following an unexpected missed yellow from Murphy it appeared as though another tense finale, of which there have been so many this week, was in store.
However, Murphy is a changed competitor to the one he was merely twelve months ago.
In that time he has captured five big titles and compiled a hat-trick of maximum breaks, resulting in a player who now looks very much like the complete package.
Murphy now boasts a resilient temperament, and a steely one at that, as he responded in the final three frames with tallies of 65, a majestic 145 total clearance, and an 89 to seal his place in tomorrow’s final.
In his current form, Murphy is proving to be a match for absolutely anybody and it will be interesting to see not only if he can carry that into Sunday’s showdown but also in April and May for the season-ending World Championship.
The Englishman can relax this evening, though, and watch as his two potential opponents sweat it out in the second last four clash.
Both Mark Selby and Stephen Maguire will be well aware that they have a lot of work to do in order to get their own hands on the German Masters trophy in Berlin.