Murphy avoids Dott shock
A review of Friday's action at the Snooker World Championship.
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Shaun Murphy resisted an electrified fightback from Graeme Dott to win a Crucible thriller that crackled with tension.
In the second round of the Betfair World Championship, Murphy beat his fellow former title winner 13-11 to earn a quarter-final shot at Judd Trump or Marco Fu.
But from 6-2 ahead overnight it was anything but routine for Murphy who was pegged back to 8-8 after the morning session and trailed 10-9 at one stage in the evening.
The man who lifted the title as a qualifier in 2005 dug deep to force his way ahead again before holding his nerve at the end of the match, after 30 minutes of grinding snooker at the start of the 24th frame, to fire in a great long red that set up a match-clinching break of 49.
"It was a good game to be involved in," said Dott. "I played well this morning but yesterday I kept missing unbelievable balls. You don't win many matches where you lose the first session 6-2.
"I think Shaun played well tonight and was stronger than me, and he deserved to win."
Dott's recovery was admirable and to his great credit as he could easily have been put out of his stride by the static electricity shocks he was suffering at the table in the morning.
They forced the players to take an early interval, and bizarrely a tournament official was sent out to spray the carpet with water.
Dott said: "I've had it before, 10 years ago when I played Mark King in Ireland. Today I was getting little ones constantly but the big ones were quite strong.
"Once they watered the floor I got the occasional shock but it was mostly fine."
Murphy said: "In life I really do try to simplify everything but in snooker it never seems to work out that way.
"I don't know why, I try my best.
"I'm relieved because it went very close.
"Even at 6-2 I knew he'd have a run at me because he's that kind of player.
"It couldn't have been better poised at 8-8 and I'm just relieved to come through.
"Finishes like that are great fun. That's the whole point of being a snooker player, those moments there.
"I've lost my fair share of late-night Crucible matches and it's nice to come through one of them."
The static shocks did not trouble Murphy but he was aware they were affecting Dott.
And Murphy was baffled by what happened in the morning interval.
"I didn't understand watering the carpet. I thought water on electricity was bad," he said.
"I've never seen a man out there spraying the carpet. I thought it was weird."
Mark Selby had early runs of 98 and 103 and sneaked ahead of Barry Hawkins. The world number one moved 9-7 in front, with Hawkins staying in it after a break of 59 gave him the final frame of the day.
Judd Trump fired in breaks of 109, 127 and 112 this afternoon in building a 6-2 lead against Marco Fu in their second-round match.
The tournament's most unlikely star bowed out, with Thailand's world number 70 Dechawat Poomjaeng failing to find the form that saw him topple Stephen Maguire in the first round as he crumbled 13-3 to Michael White.
White, 21, is a newcomer to snooker's greatest stage but has a terrific chance to reach the semi-finals now, with Robert Milkins or Ricky Walden awaiting him in the last eight.
Poomjaeng, 34, whose role in the match was almost that of a comedy turn, charmed the crowd but never threatened to make a contest of the occasion, which was so one-sided it finished a session early.