The stage is now set for the final of the 2019 China Championship, as both contestants are former world champions – Mark Williams and Shaun Murphy.
Shaun Murphy ended the race of the defending champion Mark Selby with a 6-3 victory while Williams held on to complete a dramatic deciding frame triumph against Iran’s Hossein Vafaei.
The latter had appeared to be heading to victory when he led the Iranian 4-0 and 5-2, but Vafaei fought back excellently to force the final frame.
It took a shocking pot from Williams to set him on his way to the crucial break of 91 that eventually helped him to book his place at the title decider.
Murphy also had his nearly four hours battle with Mark Selby but emerged victorious against the former World number one.
It extends the series of successes for the “Magician”, as he has now reached the final of the last three tournaments played in China.
Murphy was the runner-up at the International Championship to Judd Trump last month, and also finished as the runner-up to Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Shanghai Masters held in early September.
Indeed, getting to the finals haven’t been the English man specialty in recent times as he’s been on the losing side the last six times he’s been to this stage in ranking events.
For the fact that he’s getting himself into these positions to win is, of course, a promising sign of trophies to come, but the fact that he has faced difficulties to get over the winning line will surely be a cause of great concern for him.
The 2019 China Championship final doesn’t seem to be different for the 37-year-old, as his opponents in his recent finals have often been proven winners. He might as well face similar pressure given as he faces Mark Williams.
The race to the China Championship final marks the 35th time the 44-year-old Welshman has reached the showpiece encounter in a ranking tournament. With his great success in his last four appearances at this stage and 22 times in total, he’s become the fifth most prolific winner in the history of the sport.
The Welshman, who clinched silverware in last year’s World Open, luckily won Vafaei but will fancy his odd of adding another trophy to his already impressive and glittering cabinet.
While there’s already a £150,000 at stake, the prospect of the winner receiving an invite to play in the profitable Champion of Champions in November remains a pendulum.
Though not be the most memorable of events on the calendar, there’s still a lot at stake as the third ranking competition of the season reaches its climax this weekend.
Written by: Imisa Aruorihwo