KURT Maflin produced one of the best performances of his career so far as he beat Shaun Murphy to reach the semi-finals of the China Open.
The London born star, ranked 44 in the world rankings, came back from 3-1 down to beat this season’s Masters champion 5-4 after a break of 73 in the final frame saw him over the winning line.
It is the 31-year-old’s joint best major ranking event performance following his run to the semi-finals of the Players Championship semi-finals in 2013.
After the first two frames were shared, Murphy appeared to be a strong favourite for the quarter-final tussle after taking a 3-1 lead.
But Maflin found form just when he needed to as breaks of 89 and 103 got him back on level terms only for Murphy to re-take the lead with a break of 61.
Needing to win the eighth frame, Maflin did just that
Kurt Maflin Profile
The London-born player lives in Oslo with partner and ladies player Anita Maflin. He is currently ranked 44 in the World Player Rankings
Maflin won the most prestigious title in amateur snooker, the IBSF World Championship, in 2006.
Maflin earned a place on the professional circuit for 2010/11 by winning the 2010 European Play-Offs, despite suffering a car crash just two months earlier which left him with a six-inch metal plate and seven screws in his shoulder.
In 2010 he made a 147 in Players Tour Championship event one against Poland’s Michal Zielinski and he’ll go down in the record books as the first player to make a maximum in the PTC series.
He dropped off the tour at the end of the 2010/11 season but bounced back via Q School, beating Martin O’Donell 4-1 in the final round of event three.
Maflin continued to climb the ranking list in 2013/14 and finished it at number 34 in the world.
He has reached the last 16 of three full ranking events: the International Championship, German Masters and Haikou World Open.
In 2013 Maflin reached the semi-finals of the PTC Grand Finals, beating the likes of Ken Doherty and Ben Woollaston. However he then lost to eventual champion Ding Junhui.
In 2015 he beat Shaun Murphy to reach the semi-finals of the China Open for the first time.
Maflin will meet reigning world champion Mark Selby on Saturday for a place in the China Open final.
Selby was pushed all the way by world number 17 Robert Milkins and was forced to come back from 4-3 down to clinch a final frame win.
Milkins will be disappointed to lose after throwing away two great chances to win the contest while 4-3 ahead – a missed blue early into frame eight and then a missed red to the centre pocket when Selby let him back into play.
The defeat means Milkins misses out on an automatic spot for the upcoming World Championship and will therefore have to win three qualifying matches to secure a place at the Crucible. Stephen Maguire is now assured of the final seeding spot.
This afternoon sees two more quarter-final matches in action. Defending champion Ding Junhui faces John Higgins and world number 56 Gary Wilson takes on Barry Hawkins.