A NIGHT of tense drama at the Crucible saw Shaun Murphy and Ryan Day scrape through to the second round after they both battled their way to thrilling final frame victories.
Former world champion Murphy battled back from 7-5 behind to defeat Jamie Cope following an epic final frame and qualifier Day thwarted off a strong fightback from seed Stephen Maguire with a quality break of 92 in their deciding frame to clinch a last gasp win.
It was a bad case of history repeating itself for Maguire who suffered a first round final frame decider defeat to Dechawat Poomjaeng last year. And like last year, his wait for his first world title continues.
Trailing 6-3 overnight, Maguire’s hopes of winning looked all but over when Day extended his lead to 9-6 with breaks of 60 and 31 in the 15th frame.
But with his back fully against the wall, Maguire went on to produce the best of his snooker as the focused Scot made vital breaks of 58, 74 and 91 – adding to his earlier 134 – to take the match to the distance and putting him one frame away of completing a terrific comeback.
But it was not to be for Maguire as Day fully capitalised on the opportunity presented to him and a break of 92 clinched the Welshman’s win.
Day will face either Judd Trump or Tom Ford in the next round.
And Murphy, winner of this event in 2005, also showed his resolve and battling qualities to scrape over the winning line against an impressive Jamie Cope.
Murphy found himself in a spot of bother when Cope pulled away to take a 7-5 lead but managed to recover the situation before Cope did enough to force a final frame decider in the 18th frame.
In one of the frames of the tournament so far, both players were given good opportunities to clinch the match their favour but during the process suffered from moments of bad luck at a crucial time stopping them in their quest for victory. Remarkably Murphy found himself going in-off on three occasions during the frame.
But the turning point came when Murphy, trailing 49-36, laid a good snooker in behind the black with still two reds on the table. Despite getting out of the snooker, Cope left the reds on giving Murpphy the golden chance.
And a brilliant final green to the baulk pocket with the cueball placed near the side cushion helped seal the match for a relieved Murphy. He will have to perform better if he wants a second world title in a fortnights time.