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Page last updated at 21:43 GMT, Saturday, 20 December 2008

Murphy beats Maguire in UK semi

Shaun Murphy
Murphy is trying to join the players who have won the UK and world titles

World number three Shaun Murphy set up a UK Championship final against Marco Fu with an emphatic 9-4 semi-final win over Scotland's Stephen Maguire.

Murphy was always in control of the match after taking a 6-2 lead in the first session, although Maguire hit back with a flourish as he made a 112.

A superb 136 from Murphy restored his momentum, and a lengthy 11th frame also went his way to put him on the brink.

Maguire made a 115 to stay in the match at 8-4, but Murphy sealed the victory.

Murphy did not always have to be at the peak of his form as Maguire failed to take full advantage of numerous chances at the table.

The final frame was representative of the match of a whole as Maguire got in first before missing a black off the spot after a run of 27.

Murphy gave his opponent two more opportunities, but still managed to get over the finish line as Maguire squandered both of them.

Murphy has had a hugely disappointing season so far, but in Telford the Englishman has regained the form which won him the world title back in 2005.

"The secret is that I'm as fresh as a daisy because I've lost all season," Murphy, who had not won a ranking event match all season until arriving in Telford, told BBC Sport.

"It's been hard - the results have been pretty poor and it's been the worst part of my pro career

"I knew it would turn round and I've just kept working hard."

Maguire's 112 in the ninth frame could have been a 147 maximum break, but he missed the 15th red with an attempted double.

Murphy said Maguire's assault early in the second session had come as no surprise.

"I knew he was going to come at me with all guns blazing," said Murphy.

"I didn't expect a near-maximum in the first frame. I knew I had to answer, and I had a chance and made a good clearance.

"I'm just pleased to get through."

Murphy will play Fu on Sunday for the chance to win his third ranking title and join the elite list of players - including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Steve Davis and Stephen Hendry - who have won both the UK Championship and the world title.

Fu, meanwhile, will be looking for his second ranking event victory after his first came in the 2007 Grand Prix in Aberdeen.

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see also
UK Championship final score
17 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Fu defeats Carter to make final
19 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Maguire defends 'friend' Burnett
19 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Carter squeezes through to semis
18 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Burnett match to be investigated
18 Dec 08 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
16 Sep 08 |  Snooker

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