Shaun Murphy got revenge on Belgium’s Luca Brecel after he came came back from behind to book his place in Sunday’s Champion of Champions final.
Murphy lost to the talented 22-year-old at the start of the season in the final of the China Championship but avoided another defeat to him tonight – winning 6-4 in an entertaining semi-final.
It means Murphy will face Ronnie O’Sullivan in Sunday’s best-of-19 frames final with the winner pocketing a huge cheque for £100,000.
But Brecel – one of the most improved and successful players so far this season – will be disappointed he didn’t take advantage of a golden opportunity to reach another major final this season – especially after being 4-2 up.
The Belgian Bullet dominated the opening exchanges as breaks of 68, 63 and 80 helped him to a deserved 3-1 lead into the interval. But Brecel was unable to remain dominant in the second half of the contest.
Murphy won the first frame after the restart to trail 3-2, only for Brecel to win the sixth frame to close in on victory – but his opponent had other ideas.
A brilliant break of 131 started the fightback as Murphy produced a brilliant shot from the brown to spread the reds open early in frame seven.
Another quick-fire break – this time 73 – got Murphy level at 4-4 with Brecel’s dominance for the first time in the match becoming non-existent.
With momentum on Murphy’s side, he then won frame nine to take the lead for the first time at 5-4. And the 2005 world champion sealed the match when Brecel made a crucial and costly safety error on the final brown to let Murphy complete his victory.
Sunday’s showdown against O’Sullivan will be Murphy’s third major final of the season after being the runner-up in the two ranking events – the China Championship and the Paul Hunter Classic.
O’Sullivan booked his place in the final on Friday night after coming from 2-0 down to beat Anthony Hamilton.