Congratulations to Shaun Murphy, a winner again in mainland Europe following a 4-2 victory over Matt Couch…
Shaun Murphy 4-2 Matthew Couch
Having come close in the first EPTC event, Shaun Murphy has gone all the way today to take his first title of the season with a 4-2 victory against Matt Couch. Trailing 3-1, Matt threatened to turn around that deficit for the second match in a row but Murphy soon halted any hopes of a comeback with a century break in frame six.
It has not been a great start to the season for Murphy but this is yet another good result for him following previous victories in the Malta Cup and Paul Hunter Classic and could spark a revival. For Matt too it is also a good weekend’s work and helps him up into the top 64 as the rankings are again revised.
Shaun Murphy 4-3 Mark Williams
Fergal O’Brien 3-4 Matthew Couch
Having come back from the brink against Bjorn Haneveer in his quarter-final match, Shaun Murphy has now won another deciding frame against Mark Williams to book his place in the final of another EPTC event where he will face either Fergal O’Brien or Matt Couch. The second semi-final is progressing at a somewhat slower pace, although in fairness it did get underway around 20 minutes later than the Williams/Murphy clash.
Shaun Murphy 4-3 Bjorn Haneveer
Martin Gould 2-4 Mark Williams
Liang Wenbo 1-4 Fergal O’Brien
Matthew Couch 4-2 Ricky Walden
As detailed below, Mark Williams wasted little time booking his place in the semi-finals but Shaun Murphy found himself on the verge of another upset as he trailed home favourite Bjorn Haneveer 3-1. Murphy though has a good record in Europe having won the Paul Hunter Classic twice as well as the Malta Cup and he hit back to claim a 4-3 victory to set up a match with Williams.
In the other half of the draw, Fergal O’Brien continued his solid start to the season by defeating Chinese number 2 Liang Wenbo to advance to the semi-finals. After a poor 2009/10 which saw him lose his opening three matches and fall out of the top 32, Fergal has steadied the ship so far this season and ensured that he should not fall any further during the near future.
Fergal will now play either Matt Couch or Ricky Walden who are currently still in action with Matt leading 3-2.
Shaun Murphy 4-0 Jimmy Robertson
Bjorn Haneveer 4-3 Alfie Burden
Martin Gould 4-3 Peter Ebdon
Ding Junhui 3-4 Mark Williams
Liang Wenbo 4-1 Tom Ford
Stuart Bingham 2-4 Fergal O’Brien
Matthew Couch 4-1 Daniel Wells
Ricky Walden 4-1 Mark Selby
He did not have it all way, indeed he was warned for an early concession in frame five, but Mark Williams eventually came through to secure yet another victory against Ding Junhui this season and book his place in the last eight. Since then he has also seen of the challenge posed by Martin Gould (himself a victor over Peter Ebdon earlier in the day), to become the first man to qualify for the semi-finals.
Who is likely to pose the biggest threat to Williams taking another title? Shaun Murphy I would suggest is the most likely, particularly having demolished Jimmy Robertson this morning, but at the time of writing he is about to begin a deciding frame with home hope Bjorn Haneveer which could go either way.
One man expected to challenge this week was Mark Selby but after some good performances yesterday, he was sentpacking by Ricky Walden earlier on as his wait for another title goes on.