Betfred World Championship Final: Murphy v Bingham

Shaun Murphy will face Stuart Bingham in the final of the Betfred World Championship after both players produced strong performances in their semi-final matches.

Murphy, the winner of the title a decade ago, dominated the opening part of his semi-final against Barry Hawkins and led 14-3 at one stage, but despite a spirited fightback in Friday evening’s session, Murphy led 16-8 overnight and didn’t have to wait long before turning it into a 17-9 victory.

After the match, the 33-year-old, who also reached the final in 2009, said: “It’s unbelievable. Aside from winning the World Championship or the Masters, let’s say, getting to the final is the best feeling in snooker.

“To have the opportunity to get your name on the trophy and even touch it, be in the same room as it, is hallowed turf for snooker players.

“It might not look like it but I’m buzzing.

“You realise the next time you walk into that arena it’ll be for real and you’re going to go head to head with another great player for that trophy.

“We’ve got to block it out and play some good snooker.”

Hawkins admitted that most of the damage was done in the early part of the match. He said: “I started off too slow in that match.

“But I won’t take anything away from Shaun – he was phenomenal in the first few sessions.

“He was clearing up from not easy positions. Definitely the better player won in that match.

“It’s going take a special performance to beat Shaun.

“He’s cueing so well and there’s not a safe place on the table.”

Murphy will face Stuart Bingham, who came through a thrilling decider to beat Judd Trump 17-16 on Saturday evening.

The 38-year-old, who saw off Ronnie O’Sullivan in the quarter-finals, had to sit and watch as Trump came from 16-14 behind to force a decider with breaks of 108 and 129.

The decider got off to a nervy start but Bingham built up a lead. The key moment came when Trump suffered a horrendous kick on a red, and Bingham took on a risky but carefully-considered plant which set him on his way to victory.

Bingham was something of a ‘late bloomer’ in snooker, and did not win his first ranking title until the age of 35 when he won the Australian Goldfields Open in 2011.

Since then, he has benefited from the intensity of the modern tour under Barry Hearn’s leadership of World Snooker, and has developed a reputation as a player with a ‘have cue, will travel’ attitude.

The year after his victory in Australia, Bingham won the Premier League title, and also finished runner-up at the 2012 Wuxi Classic and 2013 Welsh Open. Earlier this season, he won the Shanghai Masters title.

Bingham, who won the world amateur title in 1996, was emotional in his post-match interview with the BBC. He said: “It’s unbelievable, I cant believe I’m in the World final.”

In his post-match press conference, Trump appeared shaken by the defeat. He said: “It’s tough to take really. I needed one good chance.

“If I’d missed the pot normally then fair play but the kick threw it off line.

“I’d worked my way back into the game and to lose it by no fault of your own … it’s so unlucky to have a kick at that time.

“In the end I lost it to a plant so I didn’t do anything wrong there either.

“I felt very confident and was relaxed in that last frame.

“I feel it’s been a little bit taken away from me.”

Sunday 3 May and Monday 4 May

14:00 & 19:00 BST

Shaun Murphy (Eng) v Stuart Bingham (Eng)

Semi-final results:

Judd Trump (Eng) 16-17 Stuart Bingham (Eng)

86-28, 64-66 (64 Trump, 65 Bingham), 64-47, 0-89 (89), 39-82, 56-74 (56 Trump, 74 Bingham), 81-0 (75), 0-77 (76), 43-63 (52), 119-6 (113), 72-51 (63), 9-74 (67), 41-75 (54), 66-35, 9-85 (85), 90-4 (64), 75-19 (61), 91-0 (91), 37-76 (67), 0-86 (62), 16-65, 23-78 (59), 87-79 (Bingham 56), 66-9 (65), 31-71, 88-0 (88), 103-5 (50), 8-110 (106), 76-0 (76), 15-102 (102), 114-14 (108), 129-0 (129), 6-62

Barry Hawkins (Eng) 9-17 Shaun Murphy (Eng)

35-93 (92), 63-69 (Hawkins 63), 24-103, 60-51, 0-105 (105), 76-8 (69), 0-138 (138), 50-80 (Hawkins 50, Murphy 79), 31-82 (73), 32-105 (105), 0-79 (79), 18-79 (72). 100-33 (79), 10-121 (121), 28-70, 0-86 (54), 1-65, 103-0 (103), 84-1 (57), 108-28 (104), 73-1 (73), 0-90 (90), 28-106 (106), 84-22 (76), 121-8 (103), 44-83 (83)