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World Snooker 2009

Crucible Theatre, Sheffield
18 April-4 May 2009

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

Video - Murphy turns the tide in semi

Shaun Murphy overcame a stunning Neil Robertson fightback to win 17-14 and set up a World Championship final with two-time champion John Higgins.

Robertson started the evening trailing 14-10 and he carried on his earlier form to take the first four frames to pile the pressure on the 2005 champion.

After losing seven in-a-row Murphy hit back with a 106 and then a faultless 81 guided him to within one of victory.

The world number three finished up with a nerveless 94 to secure a gutsy win.

Higgins and Murphy last met at the World Championship in 2005 in the second round when the Englishman came through 13-8 and this year's final showdown promises to be a lively one.

After surviving Robertson's magnificent recovery, Murphy will be relieved just to be there.

The 26-year-old said: "I didn't think I did a lot wrong. Neil just played fantastically.

Bourne Again

"I was just pleased to have built up that lead to give me some breathing space.

"I spent so much time in the chair that the skills I learned as a child had just abandoned me. I just needed to regroup and start again."

Murphy, having led 9-7 after the second session and stretching ahead to 14-7 during Saturday morning, would have been a little stunned to start the final session against Robertson leading 14-10.

It was a magnificent turn-around from the Australian 27-year-old to get within four frames and set up the evening's dramatic climax as he battled for his debut Crucible final.

The night started perfectly for Robertson, as he took full advantage of a nervous-looking opponent to grab the opener - his fourth frame in a row - to get it back to 14-11.

Having endured a largely miserable start to the day unable to pot anything, Robertson's momentum showed no sign of flagging in the next with a sensational screw back on a red when tucked under the cushion from 10 feet away.

Murphy feels fresh for final

The 2005 champion could only sit and watch Robertson's blonde locks flying round the table as he grew in confidence. He could even afford to play two showpiece shots at the end of another won frame, although his battered cue tip may not have been too grateful.

With the ecstatic crowd's applause still ringing in Robertson's ears, he overcame a 40 break by Murphy to snatch another to leave the deficit at just one.

Then the unthinkable became a reality, when Robertson eventually came through 15 minutes of dogged safety exchanges to head in at the mid-session break all-square at 14-14.

"There's no doubt if we had stayed out there I would have won," the left-hander insisted later.

The match now had the potential to enter the ranks of The Crucible's greatest comebacks, alongside Nigel Bond's recovery from 9-2 down to beat Cliff Thorburn 10-9 in 1994, or even Dennis Taylor's epic fightback from 8-0 down to overcome Steve Davis 18-17 in the 1985 final.

Murphy, though, settled his nerves with a few minutes on the practice table, and eased much of the pressure by knocking in a fabulous 106 on the resumption - the tournament's 80th century - to edge ahead again 15-14.

"I was feeling terrible," he said about the interval. "I was all over the place and they do say that the intervals come at the right time or the wrong time, and I was like a heavyweight swaying on my feet.

Shaun Murphy and Neil Robertson
Murphy and Robertson put on a terrific show in their semi-final

"I'd lost seven on the bounce but it was the best-of-five for a place in the final and that thought completely changed my perspective.

"I decided I was going to try to win and that's what I did."

Murphy continued to keep his nerve with the balls starting to find the middle of the pockets as he notched an 81 to regain his two-frame lead and sniff victory.

The further Robertson sunk lower in his chair, Murphy seemed to grow in confidence as he cruised to an impressive 94 to complete his own mini comeback and wrap up a hard-earned and entertaining victory.

"I'm really disappointed," added Robertson. "But those breaks he made in the final three frames were world-class so he definitely deserved to win."

Four years after picking up his first world crown as a 22-year-old, Murphy now has only Higgins standing in his way of a second title.

Murphy added: "To play someone like Higgins or Stephen Hendry here, when it matters, is what you dream of as a child.

"It is John's fourth final, and my second, and hopefully I don't get to experience what it's like to be a runner-up here."

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see also
Higgins downs Allen to make final
02 May 09 |  Snooker
Snooker's new aggressive breed
30 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Murphy ousts Hendry to make semis
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Hendry behind despite 147 break
28 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Ruthless Murphy crushes feeble Fu
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Distracted Murphy beats Higginson
22 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Crucible photos
26 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship latest scores
29 Apr 09 |  Snooker
World Championship draw
25 Apr 09 |  Snooker
Snooker on the BBC
20 Jan 09 |  Snooker

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