Snooker

'I'm not scared of anyone' – Mark Allen fluke helps seal epic win over six-century Shaun Murphy

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Mark Allen | Snooker | ESP Player Feature

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ByEurosport
23/06/2020 at 21:54 | Updated 23/06/2020 at 22:00

Shaun Murphy made a record-equalling six century breaks – but still lost 9-8 to Mark Allen in an astonishing quarter-final behind closed doors at the Tour Championship in Milton Keynes.

2005 world champion Murphy produced some exceptional scoring, but could not quite shake off the doggedness, temperament and matchplay skills of former Masters holder Allen, who made an ice-cool match-winning 62 in the deciding frame after fluking a red to a middle pocket.

Murphy equalled Stephen Maguire's record of six centuries in a best-of-17 frame match – set in his 9-5 win over world number two Neil Robertson on Saturday – but somehow still lost at the Marshall Arena as Northern Irishman Allen recovered from 7-5 and 8-7 behind to progress.

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"I've been patient all day and fought really hard. I was really good mentally all day even when Shaun was knocking in those long reds and making those hundreds," said Allen, who contributed runs of 60, 100, 76 and 74.

"I was confident that I would take my chance if it came. Shaun missed a few when he was in that I hadn't really missed all day.

Watch: Mark Allen wins the Scottish Open (thanks partly to a massive fluke on the pink)

00:02:27

"I was sort of missing over distance and a few poor safeties so I felt that I was going to get chances and it was up to me to score a bit better than I had been.

"The turning point for me was the two seventies I made from 7-5 behind to 7-7. That was the first time that I felt comfortable throughout the whole match. I still went behind 8-7, but I played well to close it out even with a nice fluke.

"If I play to my capabilities, I'm not really scared of anyone and never have been."

Murphy reflected on another fluked finish to a match with Allen after being denied 9-7 in the Scottish Open final in Glasgow in December 2018.

"It's the old cliche, but a century only wins you one frame," said Murphy. "To have six in the best of 17 is decent, but it shows me where I have to work on in the rest of my game.

"I'm left licking my wounds. I've played Mark twice now over the best of 17 and in both matches, he's fluked matchball.

"So that seems to be the only way he can beat me over distance at the moment. If we have a fair fight, maybe I might win the next one."

Murphy enjoyed superb knocks of 110, 117, 116, 100, 131 and 100, but paid a heavy price for missing several blacks off the spot with Allen never giving up the ghost despite being battered by a barrage of Murphy power punching.

Allen will face three-times world champion Mark Selby in the last four on Thursday.

Maguire and world champion Judd Trump contest the first semi-final on Wednesday.

The winner takes home a top prize of £150,000 in the last tournament before the delayed World Championship takes place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield next month.

Tour Championship draw

Quarter-finals (best of 17 frames)

(All sessions start at 1:30pm and 7pm BST)

  • Neil Robertson 5-9 Stephen Maguire (Saturday)
  • Judd Trump 9-4 John Higgins (Sunday)
  • Mark Selby 9-6 Yan Bingtao (Monday)
  • Shaun Murphy 8-9 Mark Allen (Tuesday)

Semi-finals (best of 17 frames)

  • Stephen Maguire v Judd Trump (Wednesday)
  • Mark Selby v Mark Allen (Thursday)

Final (best of 19 frames)

  • Maguire/Trump v Selby/Allen

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