SHAUN Murphy won his first major ranking title since 2011 after completing a 10-6 win over Mark Selby which crowned him as the new Haikou World Open champion.
The former world champion was in impressive form and held his nerve during the latter stages of today’s (Sunday) final to secure his first big title since winning the PTC Grand Finals three years ago.
Murphy has now won two titles this season following his European Tour PTC win in Poland earlier this year and in this form will have to be considered as one of the bookies favourites to win the World Championship with the competition edging nearer and nearer starting next month.
Manchester based Murphy is a credit to the game and his endless hard work in practise to end his wait for silverware appears to finally paying off.
And Murphy, who stunned the snooker world by lifting the world crown more than nine years ago, made the best possible start in his quest to win a major event once again by winning seven of the opening nine frames.
The first session saw him win the first four frames to take a commanding a 4-0 lead before Selby reduced his arrears to 4-2.
But brilliance from Murphy in the remaining frames of the session were to prove significantly decisive as breaks of 98, 105 and 112 gave him a huge 7-2 lead at the halfway stage.
Typical of the man himself and no stranger to having to dig deep in big situations, Selby fought hard at the start of the evening session as he launched his bid of making a memorable comeback. The world number two quickly rattled up the first two frames to cut the deficit to 7-4.
With newly-found momentum, Selby then went just two behind to close the gap to 7-5. But Murphy managed to win an important 13th frame as he went into the mid-session interval 8-5 up rather than 7-6.
Selby refused to give in took the next frame after the restart and looked set to make it 8-7 until he broke down on 49, allowing Murphy to make a superb 78 clearance to put him on the verge of victory.
And Murphy’s long wait for title joy came to an end after he built a 71-0 lead in the 16th frame. Although Selby clawed his way back and battled hard for snookers, Murphy potted the final pink to clinch victory.