UK Championship 2010: Williams fights back to shock Murphy

Well what about that? At 8-6 down Mark Williams looked like he could not pot a ball, indeed he hadn’t for well over an hour but somehow he was able to bounce back and take the last three frames to stun 2008 champion Shaun Murphy and set up a repeat of the final here in 2000…

Mark Williams 9-8 Shaun Murphy

Congratulations to Mark Williams who is through a final clash with John Higgins tomorrow following a stunning finish to his semi-final with Shaun Murphy this evening.

Resuming this evening leading the match 5-3, Mark did not play brilliantly in the opening frame but with Shaun seemingly unable to pot a long ball was able to do enough to take a three frame lead at 6-3. It was to be the next frame however which was to prove the first major turning point of the match as having both had chances it was Shaun who was able to take it and prevent his opponent from moving four frames clear at 7-3.

Having closed to 4-6, this seemed to give Shaun a significant boost as he not only found his range from distance, but began to score heavily with a top break of 129 bringing him level at 6-6 before a second consecutive century and a run of 73 left him on the brink of the final at 8-6.

At this stage Mark was looking all at sea, he hadn’t potted a ball in over an hour and had missed at least 8 long range attempts into the same corner as highlighted by a startling series of replays put up by the BBC. There was only going to be one winner of the clash…or so it appeared.

Mark despite all of those problems was able to dig deep and take a scrappy frame to close to 8-7 before a bizarre effort from Murphy paved the way for him to level at 8-8 and force an unlikely decider. All of a sudden the long range pots were finding their way into the middle of the pockets and as commentator John Virgo stated, Shaun Murphy appeared to be shellshocked.

The decider was to prove another nerve-jangling affair, in particular with a black from Mark looking for all the world like it would wobble in the jaws before somehow dropping. Eventually though it was Mark who was able to somehow pot a tremendous long red into the yellow pocket before taking the required colours needed to get himself over the line.

How he managed to do it I’m not sure but Mark will no doubt be delighted now to be through to the final of the UK Championship for the first time since 2002 where he will surely have to up his game if he is to beat John Higgins, the man who defeated him in the final of this very tournament a decade ago.While he is in the event he has a chance though and it has to be said, it is nice to see two of the traditional ‘big four’ contesting the final of a major ranking event tournament once again.