Easy wins for both players in first round, Joe Perry 10-4 against Zhang Anda while Shaun Murphy 10-3 against Robin Hull.
Perry, the 2008 semi-finalist, raced into a 4-0 lead then got the better of a 50-minute fifth frame to extend his lead. Players Championship winner Perry added the next two to lead 7-0, raising the possibility of only the second ever Crucible whitewash.But Zhang, the world number 98, finally notched his first frame by knocking in a break of 80. Perry had the last say in the session, finishing with a break of 87 to complete a fine morning. Zhang threatened a fight-back in the second session when he won the first three frames with a top break of 132. But Perry crucially won the 46-minute 13th frame as a superb pot on the final blue set him up to clear the table, and after the interval he capitalized on a missed yellow from his opponent to seal victory.
“I was prepared to go 8-5 and then I would have had a chat with Terry Griffiths at the interval to calm me down. As it turned out I potted a great blue to go 9-4, one of the best shots I’ve played at the Crucible. If I play Shaun Murphy next it will be fin, a good open game. If anything he’s more aggressive now than he’s ever been, and he’s better than he was ten years ago, which makes him very dangerous. If I’m honest I’d admit this is the first time I’ve come here believing I can win it. I had always felt that I could beat any opponent, but now I’ve won a big tournament which had every single player in it.”
2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy was also in fine form against Finland’s Robin Hull, taking a 7-2 lead after first session. Murphy raced out of the blocks with a fine break of 97 in the first, before clinching the next two to take an early 3-0 lead. Hull managed to stop the Magician in his tracks in the fourth with a clearance of 52 to go into the interval just two behind. Recently crowned Masters champion Murphy rattled in the game’s first century to see him claim the first of four frames in a row. He might also have won the last of the session after a thumping long pot on the last pink to give himself a chance of a re-spot, but he failed to pot the black along the top cushion. Hull potted it to give himself a glimmer of hope ahead of the concluding session. We have to agree that Finland’s Robin played poorly, putting no pressure on Shaun as Hull lost the first frame of deciding session after a break of 54 points, 56-55. After losing also the 11th frame, surprisingly won the next frame after a 64 break made by the Murphy with a clearance from last red, 64-72. In the last frame Shaun potted eight reds with blacks but was then forced to play for the pink just when a 147 looked possible, missing last anyway the last red and the third ever 146 break made at the Crucible, closing the match with a century of only 111 points.
H2H: Murphy 6-4
Prediction: Murphy to advance.
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