Shaun Murphy scored his second consecutive 6-1 win at the Betway UK Championship, beating Mark King to reach the semi-finals.
King knocked out Luca Brecel and John Higgins in the previous two rounds but he was no match for world number six Murphy. Breaks of 71, 56, 78, 75 and 60 helped Murphy wrap up the result in just 102 minutes and set up a meeting with Ryan Day on Saturday evening.
Murphy is through to the last four of this event for the sixth time and is hoping to double his tally of UK titles having lifted the trophy in 2008. Victory tomorrow would see the 35-year-old through to his fourth final of the season having won the Champion of Champions and finished runner-up at the China Championship and Paul Hunter Classic.
“I knew I was up against one of the men to beat tonight because Mark knocked out John Higgins,” said Murphy, who beat Ricky Walden 6-1 in the previous round. “I had some luck tonight and on another day it could have been a lot closer. When my long potting is good I can be dangerous, and my safety game has been working for the last few weeks. It’s nice for everything to come together in a big week.”
Welshman Day reached the semi-finals of a Triple Crown event for the first time with a tense 6-5 win over Mark Joyce, which finished at midnight.
Victory for Day also secured his place at next month’s Masters at Alexandra Palace. Liang Wenbo can still be knocked out of the top 16 seeds if Stephen Maguire beats Ronnie O’Sullivan in the other semi-final tomorrow.
Joyce came from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 with breaks of 54, 106 and 71. The next two frames were shared then Day made 55 and 111 to lead 5-4. Walsall’s Joyce got the better of frame ten to set up the decider.
Day had first chance and made 32 before missing a tricky red with the spider, then Joyce replied with 34 only to miss a red along the top cushion. Pontycymmer’s Day added 25 points which proved enough to cross the winning line.
“I am very relieved,” said world number 19 Day, who won his first ranking title at the Riga Masters in June. “It wasn’t a fantastic match. I won my previous two matches 6-5 so once I got to five frames tonight I was very confident I would win, even if it went to a decider. I fancied winning it in one visit but I got a kick on the red with the spider.
“One of my goals this week was to secure my Masters place as it’s a massive event and it’s been a while since I have played in it. Now I’m in the semis here and there are two more matches I’ve got to win.
“Shaun Murphy is a great player, we grew up together as juniors and played each other countless times so we both know what to expect. I’m really looking forward to it.”