Murphy has lost in the first round just once since his 2005 triumph
Ten years on from his Crucible triumph, Shaun Murphy raced into the second round of the Betfred World Championship with a 10-3 victory over Robin Hull.
Murphy was a 150/1 outsider when he conquered the snooker world in 2005, the second youngest ever Crucible king at the age of just 22. He has not regained the crown since, though this year he has come to Sheffield in arguably the best form of his life, having won three titles this season including the Masters.
The Nottingham-based potter was far too strong for Finland’s Hull, compiling two centuries and four more breaks over 50. He led 7-2 overnight and added the three frames he needed today with top breaks of 64 and 111. In the last frame he potted eight reds with blacks but was then forced to play for the pink just when a 147 looked possible.
“This is my 13th year playing here, and it’s amazing that I still get the same buzz as I did as a nine-year old boy when I came to watch for the first time,” said world number eight Murphy, who now meets Joe Perry. “Just to walk out there is a privilege.
When I was 22 I thought I knew everything about snooker, life and the moon landings. It turned out I was wrong.
I spent a few years with my game in the doldrums but now I’m a better player than ever. I’m dead chuffed to win today and I wish I was playing again tomorrow, though I’m too long in the tooth to think about winning the tournament.”
John Higgins made a strong start to his second round clash against Ding Junhui, taking a 5-3 lead. Four-time champion Higgins built a 4-1 lead with a top break of 73; Ding’s only meaningful reply a superb 135 in frame three.
China’s Ding went in-off when leading 55-0 in frame six, allowing Higgins to make a trademark clearance of 64 as he threatened to pull away. However Ding gained a foothold by taking the last two frames with runs of 67 and 94 to narrow the gap. They resume tomorrow at 2.30pm.
Higgins is looking to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2011