Maplin UK Champion Shaun Murphy described the pressure of the closing stages of his 10-9 final victory as more intense than his 2005 World triumph.
Murphy got the better of Marco Fu in a gripping contest which finished at 12.20am, coming from 9-8 down to win the last two frames.
“I know now what it’s like to feel that kind of pressure,” said 26-year-old Murphy after winning his third ranking title and becoming only the tenth player to have won the World and UK crowns. “There was more pressure out there tonight than there was when I won at the Crucible.
“When it went 9-9 I thought to myself that I just wanted one chance. As it turned out we both had about 19 chances. I was embarrased when I fluked the pink (to go 37 points ahead with one red left). Even then I thought there could be one more twist. I would have been very upset to lose.
“I came here having not won a match all season, and just wanting to get one win under my belt. My slow start to the season magnifies this achievement. I’ve been playing off memory and that shows that all the hours I’ve put in on the practice table since I was a kid have been worth it.
“I’ve dreamt of winning the big titles and no amount of money can buy your name on the trophy. I’ve now won the two biggest ranking events, and I hope there are more titles to come, but if there aren’t I’ll still die happy.”
Murphy added his stamp of approval to the Telford International Centre, which first hosted this event last year: “I’m impressed, it’s a state of the art venue. The semi-final and final were sell-outs and overall it’s been well attended.”
Hong Kong’s Fu won last season’s Royal London Watches Grand Prix but was denied the biggest title of his career tonight. “I was lucky to be in the match, I can’t believe I took nine frames off Shaun, the way I was playing,” admitted the 31-year-old.
“I was winning the scrappy frames while Shaun was scoring better. Even at 9-8 up I didn’t feel settled. I was out of sorts all day. I’m disappointed to lose although I can take some positives from this tournament as I’ve got my confidence back.”