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Postby footygirl

SHAUN Murphy stumbled in to the quarter finals of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible with a hard fought win over Ding Junhui.

Ding though must be kicking himself as he had the match for the taking. Murphy playing well below his usual standard. As they resumed for the final session it was tied at 8-8 and many in the press room were predicting a late night. Well, if you call 10.25pm a late finish then yes.

Ding though opened the better in the final session but he couldn’t shake off Murphy who matched him frame for frame. The pick of which was surely frame 19 with a magnificent clearance of 137 by Ding to move 10-9 in front. Murphy though wasn’t about to surrender and squared the match at 10-10 with breaks of 36 and 25.

The momentum had changed. Ding was starting to miss and Shaun’s poor form had succeeded in dragging Ding down to his level. Still credit should go to Shaun for managing to figure out a way to win even though the game he was playing was not his ‘A’ game. And how Murphy cashed in on his good fortune as he rolled in a break of 50 to put Ding under pressure straight away in frame 21. Still Shaun almost contrived to give the frame away when he managed to give away a free ball. Ding though may well regret not going for the jugular and killing a frame off which was surely there for the taking. Instead Ding chose to play safe, and succeeded in leaving the yellow over the corner pocket. To Shaun’s undisguised relief he stepped in and sunk the yellow and green to grab a frame he could well have lost.

Had he done so it could well have spelt the end of the road for the Englishman, as it would have hurt to have chucked a certain frame away. Instead it was Ding who started to wilt under the pressure as he missed two simple straightforward reds to the corner pockets. With bits and pieces of 31, 20 and 23 the 2005 world champion now led 12-10, needing one more frame for victory.

There was to be no way back for Ding and when he missed a red to the centre and left the easiest of starters for Shaun the writing was on the wall. Shaun sunk the red and at last started to show something resembling form as he signed off with a break of 128 to bring to an end an eight hour and 15 minute struggle and book a quarter final showdown with Allister Carter. But for Ding his Crucible second round hoodoo is prolonged for another year at least.

Suzy Jardine - The Crucible