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Page last updated at 22:09 GMT, Wednesday, 22 April 2009 23:09 UK

Distracted Murphy beats Higginson

World Snooker Championship
Date: 18 April-4 May Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
Coverage: Live coverage each day on BBC Two, BBC Red Button and BBC Sport website (UK only), updates on BBC Radio 5 Live.

Shaun Murphy
Murphy was tested all the way by qualifier Higginson

Shaun Murphy was relieved his personal life was not played out in public during his World Championship first-round win over Andrew Higginson.

Murphy's estranged wife Clare recently said she might serve him with divorce papers during play at the Crucible.

Asked whether the possible interruption was on his mind, the former world champion said: "Of course it was."

The 26-year-old defeated Higginson 10-8 and will now play Hong Kong's Marco Fu in the last 16.

The world number three used to live with his wife in Rotherham, just six miles from Sheffield, and was well supported by the south Yorkshire crowd in previous years, but Murphy noticed the mood in the Crucible was different during his opening match.


"I used to come here as the home boy and with all the home support and that was noticeably not there, which was strange," he said.

"But I'm here to do a job like anyone else and I'm just hopeful I can get on and do my job without being interrupted.

"When I lived here all my allocation of tickets went to the loudest shouters in Rotherham.

"When I used to walk out, the place used to go nuts, because we told the crowd to shout the loudest.

"It was just noticeable that those people weren't there."

Murphy started the day 5-4 ahead, but qualifier Higginson, from Widnes, was in no mood to lie down and took the first two frames of the last session to go ahead.

They shared the next two before the 2005 winner took the 14th and claimed the drawn-out 15th frame with a 69.

Murphy won two of the next three with a ton and a 69 to reach the last 16.

World number eight Ryan Day progressed to the second round with a comfortable 10-4 win over Stephen Lee.

The competition's sole surviving Welshman took a 6-3 lead into the final session and looked as though he could be in for a testing evening when Lee won the 11th frame to make it 7-4.

But Day wrestled back control over a cagey final three frames, edging out his opponent 79-36 72-60 72-23, to polish off the match.

He will face Nigel Bond in the second round after the Englishman upset former champion Peter Ebdon in his tournament opener.

Stephen Maguire narrowly missed out on a 147 break on his way to establishing a 6-3 overnight lead over Jamie Burnett .

The world number two had potted 12 blacks in the fifth frame when a red rattled the jaws but refused to drop, leaving him stranded on 96.

It could have been even more secure for the world number two, but Burnett snatched the final two frames, including a break of 76 in the last, to keep himself in the hunt for a second round clash against Mark King.

It is the first time the pair have met since suspicious betting on Maguire's 9-3 win in December's UK Championship which is being investigated over irregular betting patterns.

Both players have denied any wrongdoing and Maguire met Strathclyde police officers earlier this week to answer questions on the incident.

Two-time champion John Higgins will take a 5-4 lead into the final session of his first-round Crucible encounter against qualifier Michael Holt .

Scot Higgins, who won in 1998 and 2007, opened up with an 88 to take the lead before missing an easy red to allow his Nottingham opponent to level.

Holt then hit a ton and 52 to go into the interval with a 3-1 lead.

But the world number five won four of the last five frames, including a 91, to take a slender advantage.

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see also
World Championship latest scores
15 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
07 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker

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