Shaun Murphy produces magical display to win Players Championship

Shaun Murphy chalked up another run of centuries on his way to victory (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)
Shaun Murphy chalked up another run of centuries on his way to victory (John Walton/PA) (PA Wire)

Shaun Murphy produced another magical display to defeat Ali Carter 10-4 and win the Players Championship in Wolverhampton.

‘The Magician’ clinched his 10th ranking title, a first in three years, with a brilliant performance at the Aldersley Arena.

Former world champion Murphy chalked up five centuries, including a 145 to land the £10,000 prize for the highest break of the tournament, to leave ‘The Captain’ trailing in his wake.

Murphy, runner-up at the Welsh Open last week, had shown his intent with building the 145 clearance in the second frame on the way to opening up a 3-0 lead.

Although Carter pulled a couple of frames back, secured with breaks of 122 and 59, Murphy made another century clearance of 141 to move 5-2 ahead.

Murphy was then on course for a maximum attempt in the last frame of the afternoon session, but had to settle for 112 after just failing to sink the final red.

More of the same followed in the evening session, with another 103 further extending Murphy’s lead before Carter then got two back on the board with runs of 71 and 82.

It was, though, only delaying the inevitable as one more half-century break was followed by 130 as Murphy wrapped up an impressive tournament win.

“I played really good all week, but last week when it mattered in the final of the Welsh (Open) I couldn’t get the job done,” Murphy said on ITV4 following his victory.

“So to not just win but to play like that, I am going to put down as one of my biggest achievements in my career. I am really going to take that like a feather in the cap.”

Murphy added: “The last few seasons I have really struggled, but you have to keep going and persevere.

“There has been very little to get excited about in the world of snooker for me over the past few seasons.

“There have been a lot of honest conversations in front of mirrors and a lot of soul searching, but I am very lucky to have some great support, with friends and family back home.”

Despite his defeat, Carter reflected on a positive year so far.

He said: “Shaun played great, and he has played the best all week. When he is on (form), we have seen tonight what happens and it is unbelievable he hasn’t won for three years.

“But it has been a great month for me winning the German Masters, after such a long time myself (without a tournament victory) and getting to the final of this is massive also.

“If someone had said to me before Christmas you would be a ranking event winner, the final of this at the Players Championship and a seed at the Crucible (for the World Championship), I would have ripped your arm off for it.”