Murphy hails gritty Trump triumph

Shaun Murphy last won at Alexandra Palace back in 2015
Shaun Murphy last won at Alexandra Palace back in 2015

Shaun Murphy has been in snooker long enough to know that the bookies don’t always get it right.

The Magician became the fifth underdog in a row to prevail in the first round at the Masters, after he put in a gritty display to beat favourite Judd Trump 6-3 at Alexandra Palace.

And for the 2015 champion, the victory merely underlines the knife-edge competitiveness in the upper echelons of the game today.

“None of the favourites have won yet, so it shows what the bookies know,” he said.

“It’s not an exact science, this sport. Just because you’re ranked high and have accumulated more money over the past two years, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to win the match.

“We all know that on the tour. Maybe what’s happened this week so far will spur the punters to look a bit deeper.”

With Trump making three centuries from the opening five frames to lead 3-2, most would have backed the reigning World and Masters champion to prevail, but Murphy capitalised on a handful of uncharacteristic errors to clean up.

He won four frames on the spin from that point on, including a fabulous 41 break in the eighth to move himself within one of victory.

And Murphy says that, after Trump’s rapid-fire start, it was once again a case of using his experience to steady his head.

“When somebody opens up like that you go back to one frame at a time. It’s getting to six first, that’s the only statistic that really counts,” he continued.

“I thought my safety and defensive game was pretty decent today. It was feeding off a couple of mistakes of his.

“You have to step in and nick the frames. It’s not like I was raking long reds in like in 2005 and 2015, but it’s nice to know that those counter-clearances are there.”

Setting up a quarter-final against Joe Perry on Thursday, Nottingham man Murphy has catapulted himself into the reckoning for the title - but the 37-year-old knows not to underestimate his upcoming opponent.

“He’s a really good player, a former finalist here, somebody I respect a lot,” he added.

“I think he’s very solid in all departments, someone who is worthy of his nickname, the Gentleman, on and off the table - a real nice guy and somebody who I have a deep respect for.

“I think it will be a good game and I’ll be practicing hard, getting ready for that.”

Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.