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Murphy hoping to end poor run

England’s Shaun Murphy will be looking to put a bad few months behind him when he plays his first match of the World Championships on Sunday.

The Harlow-born star has struggled in recent months and last reached a final in December, when he lost to Mark Allen at the Scottish Open.

Murphy has since lost in the first round of the Masters, German Masters and World Grand Prix.

The World No.13 reached the third round of the Gibraltar Open before losing to Lu Ning in March and he takes on another Chinese star at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield.

Luo Honghao is his opponent in round one and Murphy is as short as 1.40 to win. Luo remains the 3.00 outsider and a similar one-sided match is expected in Sunday’s other match.

Scotland’s John Higgins returns to the table to take on Mark Davis in the morning session, with the four-time champion – who has been beaten in the last two finals at the Crucible – is a strong 1.33 favourite to reach round two.

Higgins is expected to cruise into the next round, and is priced at 7.00 to win 10-5 on Sunday afternoon.

Sunday’s afternoon session will also see three of Saturday’s matches come to a close.

Belgium’s Luca Brecel is involved in a close contest against England’s Gary Wilson. The game will resume at 5-4 and Brecel is 1.40 to kick on and wrap up the win.

The final game of Sunday’s session sees Neil Robertson take on Cyprus’ Michael Georgiou and he leads 9-0 after a stunning display on Saturday.

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