Shaun Murphy
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Shaun Murphy – ‘Our rivalry continues to this day’

Shaun Murphy is looking forward to a second round meeting with Stephen Maguire after comfortably winning his opening game at the 2024 World Snooker Championship.

The eighth seed played solidly as he easily dismantled a tame challenge from qualifier Lyu Haotian in the round of 32 on Monday morning.

Murphy compiled breaks of 111, 90, 71, and 53 to lead 6-3 overnight after the first session and added further contributions of 81, 60, 55, and 53 to complete a 10-5 triumph at the Crucible.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” Shaun Murphy told Rob Walker for the World Snooker Tour in Sheffield.

“It’s so hard to keep coming back, keeping the faith, and keep trying – especially having not tasted victory here in any way for two years.”

“I kept coming back, trying, and just getting the knockbacks. It’s been tough, especially after a bad season like I’ve had.

“I said in the press today that any victory I’d consider as a success, and I’m taking it. I’m delighted, and I can’t wait to play in the next round.

“It was a strange match. He dragged the game back to 3-3, and I remember sitting in my chair thinking that I’ve done all the play here.

“I’ve created all the play, I’ve played all the shots, yet the score says three frames apiece.

“It’s amazing sometimes how the scoreboard actually doesn’t reflect what’s gone on. I was thinking, if you’re not careful, you’re going to have nothing to show for your hard work.

“So once the barrier went up and the partition lifted as play had finished on the other side, that coincided with frame seven, I felt much more comfortable then.

“I think he felt a little bit in awe of the place once the barrier had gone up, and he struggled a bit after that. It played into my hands a little.”

Victory for the Magician, a four-time Crucible finalist and the champion in 2005, sets up a mouthwatering last-16 battle against old foe Maguire.

The pair rose through the junior ranks together and first turned professional at the same time in 1998, each aspiring to reach the top of the sport.

“That dream probably started in the very early-90s,” Shaun Murphy said, referring to his long history with Maguire.

“When we crossed paths for the first time, we were probably nine or ten years of age, when we first met and crossed cues.”

“Our rivalry continues to this day. He beat me here two years ago, I think the head-to-head stands at something like 14 each.

“So we’re as tight as we can be, and I think for the neutral it’ll be a cracker.

“I think, in some ways, people overlook Stephen Maguire because he hasn’t won here, because he hasn’t won the Masters, and because his UK win was so long ago.

“They forget how good he is. Ronnie O’Sullivan tipped him to go on and dominate the game when he played here many moons ago.

“That hasn’t happened. But on his day, he will beat and demolish anybody. Not just beat, but trounce them into the floor.

“On his day, he could win any tournament. I just hope it’s not his day when we play in a few days time.”


2024 World Snooker Championship Draw

Round 1 (bo19)

Luca Brecel (1) 9-10 David Gilbert
Robert Milkins (16) 10-9 Pang Junxu
Ali Carter (9) 7-10 Stephen Maguire
Shaun Murphy (8) 10-5 Lyu Haotian

Mark Selby (5) 6-10 Joe O’Connor
Kyren Wilson (12) 10-1 Dominic Dale
John Higgins (13) 10-6 Jamie Jones
Mark Allen (4) 10-6 Robbie Williams

Judd Trump (3) 10-5 Hossein Vafaei
Tom Ford (14) 10-6 Ricky Walden
Zhang Anda (11) 4-10 Jak Jones
Mark Williams (6) 9-10 Si Jiahui

Ding Junhui (7) 9-10 Jack Lisowski
Gary Wilson (10) 5-10 Stuart Bingham
Barry Hawkins (15) 8-10 Ryan Day
Ronnie O’Sullivan (2) 10-1 Jackson Page

Round 2 (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-4 Robert Milkins (16)
Stephen Maguire 13-9 Shaun Murphy (8)

Joe O’Connor 6-13 Kyren Wilson (12)
John Higgins (13) 13-12 Mark Allen (4)

Judd Trump (3) 13-7 Tom Ford (14)
Jak Jones 13-9 Si Jiahui

Jack Lisowski 11-13 Stuart Bingham
Ryan Day 7-13 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Quarter-Finals (bo25)

David Gilbert 13-8 Stephen Maguire
Kyren Wilson (12) 13-8 John Higgins (13)

Judd Trump (3) 9-13 Jak Jones
Stuart Bingham 13-10 Ronnie O’Sullivan (2)

Semi-Finals (bo33)

David Gilbert 11-17 Kyren Wilson (12)
Jak Jones 17-12 Stuart Bingham

Final (bo35)

Kyren Wilson (12) 18-14 Jak Jones

Click here for the latest live scores and session times.


Featured photo credit: WST

2 Comments

  1. Daniel White

    Hopefully the rivalry breeds an intense match between these two: both of whom are capable of demolishing any opponent on his day but both of whom are more than capable of losing any match through poor form, or some strange conflux of happenstance. A cracking match up.

  2. Why oh why are snooker players comentating on matches somehow trivialises the competition Murphy rambling on at a hundred miles a hour ruins the unique silence of the baize tell us something insightful then be quite for while! Just watching the majestic Ronnie Osulivan speaks volumes. Enough already there’s a snooker match in progress

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