Shaun Murphy
Main News, Ranking

Shaun Murphy and Xiao Guodong advance

Shaun Murphy moved a step closer to Championship League Snooker glory by topping Group D on Wednesday in Leicester.

The Magician finished in first place in the second round-robin phase of the competition ahead of David Gilbert, Thepchaiya Un-Nooh, and James Cahill.

Murphy got his day at the Morningside Arena off to a perfect start with a 3-1 defeat of Cahill before surpassing that with a whitewash win against Un-Nooh.

It left him in control of proceedings on six points heading into his final fixture with Gilbert, who had amassed four points from his couple of games against the same opponents.

Murphy needed to avoid defeat against the 2021 champion, and a tight 2-2 draw secured the point he required to move through to Stage Three.

The 40 year-old has already enjoyed a fruitful 2023 calendar year and is looking to add a third ranking success of the period.

Murphy strung together a remarkable run of form in February and March – reaching the final of the Welsh Open before capturing both the Players and Tour Championships.

Meanwhile, Xiao Guodong prevailed in a very close Group A courtesy of the high break rule.

After the first two rounds of fixtures, all four matches involving Xiao, Zhou Yuelong, Ben Woollaston, and Michael Holt had ended in draws.

China’s Xiao and England’s Holt subsequently orchestrated 3-0 triumphs over their respective countrymen Zhou and Woollaston.

It left the pair locked on the same number of points and the same frame difference, leaving Xiao’s high break of 109 as the determining factor.

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Shaun Murphy and Xiao Guodong will both participate in Stage Three of Championship League Snooker on Friday when the champion will ultimately be crowned.

First on Thursday, though, will be the remaining two groups from Stage Two.

Title favourite Judd Trump rejoins the action in Group B alongside Joe Perry, Matthew Stevens, and Cao Yupeng.

Group G will see two-time former ranking event winner Michael White face Jak Jones, Sam Craigie, and Long Zehuang.

Championship League Snooker
Stage Two draw

Group A (July 19)
Michael Holt
Ben Woollaston
Zhou Yuelong
Xiao Guodong
Group B (July 20)
Judd Trump
Matthew Stevens
Joe Perry
Cao Yupeng
Group C (July 18)
Ashley Carty
Liu Hongyu
Daniel Wells
Noppon Saengkham
Group D (July 19)
Shaun Murphy
David Gilbert
Thepchaiya Un-Nooh
James Cahill
Group E (July 17)
Kyren Wilson
Sanderson Lam
Chris Wakelin
Anthony Hamilton
Group F (July 17)
Mark Williams
Martin O’Donnell
Robbie Williams
Barry Pinches
Group G (July 20)
Long Zehuang
Michael White
Sam Craigie
Jak Jones
Group H (July 18)
John Astley
Robert Milkins
Pang Junxu
Si Jiahui

Featured photo credit: WST

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