Shaun Murphy
Main News, Non-Ranking

‘Those types of frame losses leave marks’ – Shaun Murphy

Shaun Murphy reached the quarter-finals of the Masters with a 6-2 victory over Zhang Anda on Sunday in London.

Murphy compiled breaks of 89, 86, 71, 65, and 51 as the 50th edition of the prestigious invitational got under way at the Alexandra Palace.

Zhang, the only debutant in the Masters draw this year, had been the form player among the pair during the second half of 2023.

But the International Championship winner was left to rue a couple of missed opportunities to win frames three and four of the contest.

“Obviously I’m on the BBC team, and we did the draw at the UK Championships,” Shaun Murphy told the World Snooker Tour.

“When his name came out, a lot of people were saying that’s a good draw – a debutant, this, that, and the other.”

“And I was thinking, he’s one of the players of the season. Yes, he’s not played in this tournament before.

“But he’s just off the back of winning a massive event in China, he’s been one of the best players of all season.

“I thought I’ve got my work cut out here. If I don’t play properly, he’ll turn me over.

“With that in mind, I’ve worked very, very hard since York in the background. I’ve not told anyone about it, and I was delighted to see it come out there.”

After the opening two frames were shared, a protracted and close third frame saw the balls go scrappy with Murphy eventually edging in front for a second time.

The key exchanges of the encounter materialised in the fourth frame, however, when the Magician countered Zhang’s break of 60 with a 65 clearance of his own.

Murphy then controlled the affair after the mid-session interval, comfortably advancing to the last eight of the competition.

“It was more important the fact that he had to think about it for 20 minutes,” the 2015 Masters champion said of the crucial fourth frame.

“If we had rolled straight into frame five, racked the balls up and go again, it perhaps doesn’t leave the same type of mark.”

“Those types of frame losses leave marks and scars. To then have to sit in the dressing room afterwards thinking about it is tough and something you have to learn to deal with.

“It’s the top 16, invitation only, for a reason. It’s great to be out there.

“The first time I came to the Masters as a 12 year-old boy, I was dreaming of one day playing and walking out there in that competition.

“To have been here for many years, to be quite experienced at it, to love it, to enjoy it, and to have won the tournament is something I’m very proud of.

“It’s a great arena to play in. The Conference Centre was great, the arena was good. But I think the home here we found with the Ally Pally is second to none.”

Murphy’s next opponent will be Jack Lisowski, who earlier on day one defeated world champion Luca Brecel by the same four-frame margin.

Lisowski raced into a 4-0 lead with breaks of 100 – his 300th career century break – 96, 70, and 69.

Brecel briefly rallied to cut the deficit in half, but Lisowski powered past the winning post with contributions of 63 and 68.

“I think the ladies and gentleman who have got a ticket for that match are in for a treat,” Murphy teased about his upcoming battle against Lisowski.

“Neither of us pull our punches. I don’t think it’ll take very long, whoever wins, and Jack is showing the talent that he’s got.

“He’s ready to win big. This could be his week – I hope not – but I’m going to give it everything I’ve got.”

On Monday, the 2024 Masters continues with two more fixtures from the round of 16.

Seven-time champion Ronnie O’Sullivan – many people’s pre-tournament favourite – takes on Ding Junhui in a repeat of their UK Championship final from a month ago.

The evening encounter sees last year’s runner-up Mark Williams in action against Ali Carter, who will make his first appearance in the event since 2020.

2024 Masters
draw, live scores, results –

Last 16 (bo11)

Judd Trump 6-5 Kyren Wilson
Mark Williams 4-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 6-1 Robert Milkins
Mark Allen 6-5 John Higgins

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Ding Junhui
Neil Robertson 3-6 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-2 Zhang Anda
Luca Brecel 2-6 Jack Lisowski

Quarter-Finals (bo11)

Judd Trump 5-6 Ali Carter
Mark Selby 5-6 Mark Allen

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-3 Barry Hawkins
Shaun Murphy 6-3 Jack Lisowski

Semi-Finals (bo11)

Ali Carter 6-3 Mark Allen

Ronnie O’Sullivan 6-2 Shaun Murphy

Final (bo19)

Ali Carter 7-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan

Featured photo credit: WST

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