Murphy and Selby To Meet In Berlin Final


Good friends they might be off the table, but tomorrow Shaun Murphy and Mark Selby will be the best of enemies, as they clash in the final of the 2015 German Masters following semi-final victories yesterday.

For Shaun, it was a topsy turvy match with Liang Wenbo, which saw the Englishman take a 3-0 lead, before losing four in a row and eventually coming through a 6-4 winner, while in Mark’s case he was rarely troubled by Stephen Maguire, running out a 6-2 victor.

Following his recent victory at the Masters, as well as his performances so far at this tournament, culminating in breaks of 141 and 145 in his victory against Liang, Murphy is very much the tour’s form player at the moment and for me is playing the best snooker of his career at this time.

As a former world and UK champion, it is of course not the first time that we have seen this level of snooker from him, but having maintained that level for more or less six months now, we are seeing a new level of confidence and consistency from Shaun.


For Selby meanwhile, despite coming into the event having not been able to prepare for the tournament properly, following his pool exploits in China that ended less than a week ago, he has steadily improved his game throughout the last five days following an early scare from Anthony McGill and is now playing as well as he has since his world title triumph at the Crucible last May.

With both in strong form then, it promises to be an engrossing best of 17 frames final between the two, who of course met recently at the first round of the Masters, with Shaun coming out on top on his way to the title.

What pointers can we look to? This will be the third time that the two have met in a ranking event final, Shaun having won last season at the Haikou World Open, while Selby triumphed at the UK Championship final back in 2012.

Murphy9Overall, it is Murphy who has much the better record in ranking finals of the two, having won five of his previous nine, while Selby has gone on the way on only four occasions from 12. That said, Selby has of course claimed three Masters titles, in addition to several European Tour titles and is obviously not a player afraid to win.

Both players have scored heavily this week and with neither player unduly detained in their respective semi-finals today, there should be no ill-effects from those matches tomorrow, aside from perhaps Shaun’s ‘chapped lips’ as have become a keen point of interest for Eurosport’s Colin Murray.

For what it’s worth, I would fancy Selby to edge a close final by a couple of frames, but if Murphy can maintain his high scoring and never say die attitude that he has shown so far this week, there is no reason that he cannot go on to claim a second successive big tournament success.

In terms of the rankings, victory for Selby would see him become world number one once again, while defeat would see Ronnie O’Sullivan reclaim top spot for the first time since May 2010.