Shanghai Masters: Shotgun mauled by Murphy, while Doherty marches on

As the last 16 got underway in Shanghai this afternoon, world number 3 Shaun Murphy sent out a real statement of intent to the rest of the field with a 5-0 whitewash of Jamie Cope as he moved into the quarter-finals in style. Elsewhere, there were also one-sided wins for home favourite Ding Junhui and reigning world champion John Higgins, while Ken Doherty’s resurgence continued as he edged out Barry Hawkins in a decider.

Afternoon Session


Ding Junhui 5-2 Stuart Bingham
80(66)-46, 0-126(94), 97(74)-7, 77(41,36)-16, 88(88)-8, 22-59, 101(101)-0
John Higgins 5-1 Mark Williams
67(47)-37, 69(69)-1, 12-67(60), 71(64)-33(33), 81(81)-29, 84(84)-7
Shaun Murphy 5-0 Jamie Cope
83(33)-5, 60(51)-32, 106(106)-1, 73(33)-1, 133(133)-0
Barry Hawkins 4-5 Ken Doherty
7-110(79), 75(64)-7, 45-69(49), 68(35)-29, 7-62(41), 64-34, 0-73(51), 17-102(50)

Murphy had kicked off his campaign with a comfortable 5-1 win over Michael Holt yesterday and was similarly untroubled against Cope, requiring just 76 minutes to dispatch the world number 18 with a clinical performance that was capped with a brilliant break of 133 in the fifth and final frame, his second century of the match following a run of 106 in frame three.

While the 2005 world champion’s form was perhaps not quite as spectacular as the scoreline would suggest, the professionalism and ruthlessness on display from Murphy as he moved into the last eight here for the first time in his career will I’m sure not have gone unnoticed by his rivals for the season’s first ranking title. Speaking to, the 27 year-old was clearly happy with his form: “I’m playing very good snooker at the moment. I’m trying to play simple shots and not the difficult ones.”

Meanwhile, the world champion was in similarly ominous form. John Higgins had looked slightly workmanlike in his opening round match with qualifier Matt Selt but clearly stepped up his game here, albeit against a clearly injury-troubled Mark Williams. With his broken right wrist still in plaster and – by his own admission – causing him a great deal of pain, the Welshman had been pleased to just make it through his first-round clash with Joe Swail, telling “those first round matches have a massive affect on the ranking list. I can relax a bit now and see what happens”.

Unfortunately for the Welsh Potting Machine, what happened was a merciless display from Higgins. Breaks of 47 and 69 in the first two frames established a daunting early lead, and while the man from Cwm responded with a 60 break of his own to take the third, the Wizard of Wishaw reeled off the next three frames with runs of 64, 81 and 84 to secure a convincing 5-1 victory. Higgins will now face another Welshman in the quarters, with Ryan Day and Matthew Stevens facing off in this evening’s session for the right to face him tomorrow, while Williams will hope his wrist will be much less of a hinderance when the Grand Prix starts in just over three weeks time.

Ding Junhui had looked in good knick when brushing Stephen Lee aside 5-2 in the first round and it was a similar story for the 22 year-old in the last 16, to the delight of the home fans. His opponent Stuart Bingham will have been full of confidence after sending Mark Selby packing in the previous round, and would have still felt pretty good about things when he rattled in a break of 94 in frame two to level the match at 1-1. From there though, Ding streaked away into a 4-1 lead with breaks of 74 and 88 along the way, and while Bingham temporarily reduced the deficit to two frame, the Chinaman finished with a flourish, a century sending him through to a quarter-final against either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Marco Fu.

While the other three matches were over and done with relatively quickly, this one was another Doherty epic. After taking over three hours to overcome Neil Robertson in round one, crafty Ken was in for the long haul again as his match with Barry Hawkins went right to the wire. The pair traded frames all the way to 3-3, a first-frame 79 from Ken being the highest break of a match not exactly illuminated by heavy scoring. Hawkins, who was the beneficiary of a first-round walkover after Stephen Maguire’s withdrawal, looked to have seized the advantage with a run of 50 to move within one frame of victory, but Doherty was far from finished, producing a pair of typically gritty 50 breaks to take the last two frames and another dramatic win

While acknowledging that he didn’t play as well as he had in his victory over Robertson, the Irishman noted that the last two winners of this event have come through the qualifying rounds to do so, perhaps something of an omen for a player who has started the season as well as anybody. That said, Doherty’s next opponent? A man by the name of Murphy, who is in pretty decent form himself…