Murphy and Robertson level after high quality session

Well after a lengthy first frame the following seven just absolutely flew by tonight as Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson ended the evening level at 4-4…

Indeed the first frame lasted almost 49 minutes and though both players had their chances, with just pink and black on the table they were separated by just three points. Eventually though it was Shaun who drilled in the long pink to get off the mark.

From then on things sped up though as Murphy drilled in a long frame to start frame two, though he needed a couple of chances to get over the line and double his advantage. Against some players you will get a couple of chances each frame but Neil did not give him one in frame three as he knocked in a long red himself and made an impressive 81 break from it to get his first frame on the board.

After a couple of one-sided frames, it looked like the fourth would go the same way as Neil seemed destined to level the match in one visit, but as he just misses a red on 62, Shaun suddenly had a chance for 3-1. The final red was awkward and having got it, the final obstacle in his path proved to be the pink which funnily enough was in almost the exact same spot as Steve Davis’ way back in that 1985 final against Dennis Taylor. Just like Davis, Shaun could not put it away and having been snookered behind the black, went in-off to hand the frame to a relieved Neil Robertson.

After the break  it was Shaun who got the first telling break, though Neil did have a chance early on which was spoilt by a heavy contact. Though he could not wrap the frame up in one visit, he soon drilled in another long red and was back in front at 3-2. The other notable incident from this frame was that Neil managed to leave his cue extension back in the dressing room during the interval and when asking Shaun if he could go and get it, Shaun appeared to say no, as commentator Joe Johnson observed. It did not matter too much in the end as Jan Verhaas soon turned up with the missing extension at least.

Following a brief interlude due to some sort of alarm sounding in the building and disturbing the players, they were soon back playing and with another long red and a break of 88, Shaun was beginning to look utterly ominous.

Fair play to Neil though because he did not lie down and with breaks of 81 and 46, ensured that he will go into tomorrow’s second session all-square…