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Murphy relieved after reaching semi-finals

Shaun Murphy says he is happy to see an improvement in his game and is hoping to keep the momentum going in Friday’s Champion of Champions semi-final showdown against Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Murphy has struggled for form this season and he arrived in Coventry this week off the back of a 6-0 qualifying loss to Sam Baird at the International Championship.

The 2005 world champion, who is 26.00 to triumph at the Crucible for a second time next year, has managed to rediscover some of his better form at the Ricoh Arena after booking his semi-final place.

After ousting fellow Englishman Jimmy Robertson 4-2 in round one, the ‘Magician’ produced another solid performance to dispatch China’s Ding Junhui 6-3 in the quarters.

Murphy, 36, made six 50-plus breaks – which included centuries in frames six and eight – and he is delighted to have set up a semi-final clash with former world number one O’Sullivan.

“It has been a rough start to the season for me so I was desperate for a victory,” he was quoted as saying by worldsnooker.com. “There are only winners in this event and every player deserves his place in it.

“I’ve done my bit now and got to the semis, I’m looking forward to watching everyone else sweat it out.”

Murphy defeated O’Sullivan 10-8 in last year’s final and the reigning champion is 3.80 to record another victory over the ‘Rocket’, who is the 1.25 favourite to advance into the final.

Speaking ahead of the contest, O’Sullivan, who is aiming for his second title of the season, revealed what he would be doing to prepare.

He said: “[Before the semi-final] I will take it easy, relax, cook some food, go to the gym, do some running, watch a bit of snooker and take it easy.”

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