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Sunday December 9, 2012

Murphy books final spot after remarkable fightback

LONDON: Shaun Murphy staged a stunning comeback to defeat Ali Carter 9-8 in the semi-final of the UK Championship on Friday.

The 2008 champion had been 5-3 behind after the first session in which Carter made his only century of the match.

It looked to be Carter’s match when he led 8-4 in the best-of-17 contest, but Murphy played like a player transformed after the mid-session interval, hit the highest break of the match, a 105, as he won five frames in a row.

Murphy had said after Thursday’s victory over 17-year-old Luca Brecel that a dressing-room rocket from his manager Brandon Parker had saved him from defeat, and whatever was said on Friday evening behind closed doors clearly also did the trick. Murphy held his nerve in a tense final frame as breaks of 39 and 29 carried him through to a cup final date.

Carter, who broke down in tears afterwards as he spoke about his continuing battle with Crohn’s disease, said: ‘Shaun’s played unbelievably from 8-4 behind. I was in complete control. All credit to Shaun, I can’t be too hard on myself.”

Speaking about his painful condition, Carter said: ‘If I could pay to get rid of it, I would.’

Carter had been ahead in the decider, reaching 32 before missing a red with the rest.

He dropped his head to the baize, knowing the error had presented Murphy with the chance to take frame and match.

Murphy said: ‘I don’t feel that Ali lost it - I feel that I won it and I’m really proud. I was four down with five to play. It’s pretty straightforward and you know where you stand with that.

‘For the semis of the UK Championships, when I was all but dead and buried, that’s got to be my best five-frame spell ever.

“I can’t believe that I won the match. I felt he was going to paste me 9-4. I’m blown away.’

Murphy will be bidding for his second UK Championship title, having pipped Marco Fu to the trophy in 2008. — Agencies

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