Shaun Murphy overcame a 5-1 deficit to defeat Robert Milkins 10-8 and secure a place in the semi-finals of the Duelbits Tour Championship, exacting revenge for his loss to Milkins in last month’s Welsh Open final. Murphy, who has been in exceptional form in recent weeks, winning the Duelbits Players Championship and reaching the Welsh Open final, where he registered a 147 break, made a remarkable comeback to secure victory.
Murphy, who is appearing in his 50th ranking event semi-final, will face either Mark Selby or Ryan Day on Saturday in Hull. The 40-year-old’s season began with his top 16 ranking under threat, but he now has an opportunity to move into the top four if he can claim the £150,000 first prize this week.
Milkins held a 5-3 lead after the first session and extended his advantage with a break of 68 in the first frame of the evening. However, Murphy mounted a comeback, winning the next four frames, including breaks of 64, 106, and 67, to go 8-6 ahead. Milkins rallied to level the scores at 8-8, but Murphy produced a stunning long red along a side cushion to a top corner and followed it up with a run of 128 to seal the match.
Reflecting on his victory, Murphy said, “This afternoon at 5-1 I felt I had done the game. Somehow I managed to scrape the last two frames of the session. I went off for a walk and a hot chocolate between sessions, and at that point I believed I was going to win the match.” He also praised Milkins’ performance, acknowledging that the 44-year-old played with the freedom of a man who has won £300,000 in the past few weeks.
Milkins, on the other hand, lamented his performance, admitting that he struggled with his tip during the match. Murphy will now have a few days off to prepare for his upcoming semi-final match and expressed his excitement about performing in front of a crowd, saying, “I love performing to crowds, I love putting on a show, I am an entertainer, anyone who has been to one of my exhibitions knows that. I am looking forward to Saturday.”