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Murphy Scores Rare Crucible Whitewash

Shaun Murphy became only the second player in Crucible history to whitewash his opponent as he beat Luo Honghao 10-0 in the first round of the Betfred World Championship.

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It’s the first whitewash since John Parrott beat Eddie Charlton 10-0 in 1992.

China’s 19-year-old Luo, making his debut at the Sheffield venue, set an unwanted record for the lowest number of points scored in a match at the Crucible. He amassed just 89 points, beating the previous record of 191 scored by part-time binman Danny Fowler when he lost 10-1 to Stephen Hendry in 1993.

The result is all the more remarkable given that Murphy has had a sequence of poor results in 2019; this is the first time he has reached the last 16 of a ranking event since December.

But the 36-year-old has looked back on form at the venue where he lifted the trophy in 2005. Breaks of 138, 102, 101, 76, 62 and 123 helped him build a 9-0 lead in Sunday’s opening session. And a run of 59 in the first frame today completed the emphatic shoreline.

World number 13 Murphy now meets Neil Robertson in what could be an epic second round clash.

“After the season I have had, never in my wildest dreams did I think I could come here and win 10-0,” said Murphy. “Going out this morning, it was tough to try to put that potential 10-0 to the back of my mind and try to play the right shots.

“Luo is a very talented player and to get to the Crucible in your first pro season is an amazing achievement. I’m sure he will use this as inspiration. The arena here can do funny things to the best of us so he should shrug it off and move on.

“This has been the worst season of my life, I have been in a daze. Yesterday I felt like Shaun Murphy again. In a way I’m looking forward to this season being over, but while I’m here I’ll give it my best.

Tour rookie Luo reached the quarter-finals of the English Open earlier this season

“Neil Robertson has had a brilliant season and he’ll be the overwhelming favourite. I’ll just be trying to stay with him. No one is expecting me to win and that suits me fine.”

Luo said: “It’s my first time at the Crucible and it’s a really different feeling. I was very nervous. I’ve never felt like this before because the Crucible is the dream for every player. It is amazing to get here.

“I didn’t feel like I was playing a match. I was enjoying the place. After this time I want to improve myself, my technique and my skill. I’m still not good enough to play against the top players, they’re too strong.”

On the other table, three-time champion Mark Selby is in danger of a shock defeat as he trails another Crucible debutant from China, Zhao Xintong, 5-3 after their first session.

Selby was knocked out in the first round by Joe Perry last year and he needs to win seven of the last 11 frames tonight against 22-year-old Zhao to avoid another early exit.

The match started with three scrappy frames and Zhao more than matched his opponent in the safety exchanges, winning all three. Selby pulled one back with a break of 102 but Zhao replied with a run of 90 then added frame six to lead 5-1.

World number two Selby crucially took the last two frames of the session with 51 and 131 to stay in touch. They resume at 7pm.