Shaun Murphy has this evening defeated Martin Gould to capture the 2014 Bulgarian Open, as this season’s European Tour reaches its halfway point.
Click below for a round up of the action today and indeed the main stories from the past three days overall in Sofia, as well as the usual all important post-event links…
Having both impressed with their performances throughout the day, it was fitting that this evening’s final was to be contested by Shaun Murphy and Martin Gould, both former European Tour event winners.
Though the first couple of frames were to be slightly scrappy, from there the quality improved as Martin was able to move 2-1 up, statistically boasting a pot success rate of 94% and a long pot success of 100%, while also having had the upper hand in the safety encounters.
Back though was to come Murphy, breaks of 82 and 99 putting him into the lead, before he sealed victory with a decisive 63 in the sixth frame.
One of the sport’s leading players for almost a decade now, in recent seasons Shaun had struggled to convert his talent into trophies, often reaching the latter stages of events without quite going all the way. Now though, Shaun stands having claimed his third tournament victory in little over six months and looking to have the confidence that comes with that success.
Indeed, whether it was from what I saw of him on the livestream today, or from following his series of quick, high-scoring matches on the livescores, Shaun had the look of a winner throughout and despite finding himself behind early in the final, hit back strongly to get over the line.
Already qualified for the Champion of Champions event, Murphy now secures his spot in the Players Championship finals in Thailand next March and will enjoy a short break, before returning to action at the International Championship later this month.
For Martin, disappointment to lose in the final to the man who of course defeated himself previously at the inaugural Players Championship Grand Finals in 2011, but it was a measure of how well he played that he was able to force Murphy to produce his best snooker in the final in order to secure the title. He scored heavily throughout the day and hopefully will take confidence from the last couple of days into the rest of the season.
Aside from the finalists, as ever in the European Tour events there were players who made a move as far as the Order of Merit and Tour places were concerned, notably Fraser Patrick, who built upon his last 16 run in Germany with another couple of victories here, while it was good to see Jimmy White win three matches and put himself right into the mix for a two-year card should he drop out of the main top 64.
Peter Ebdon too enjoyed another good run at a European Tour event this season, having previously struggled for results in the short format events during the past couple of years. Two players who have not struggled in in European Tour events however are Robbie Williams and Luca Brecel, both of whom made it through to the final day, while Alan McManus continued his own good form with another last 16 run.
Fast becoming one of the most well-established and well-supported European Tour events on the calendar, it has been another good weekend of action and now the snooker circuit will take a pause, due of course to the postponement of the Indian Open, before the action resumes at Asian Tour 2 and then the International Championship from Chengdu.