BACK on the baize on Sunday, and Michael Day (@daisy8ball) takes a look at the Joe Perry – Shaun Murphy clash for us.
Joe Perry v Shaun Murphy | Sunday 10:00 | BBC
Joe Perry and Shaun Murphy had very comfortable opening match ties, coming through with plenty of frames to spare.
Murphy looked in good knick making a couple of centuries along the way in his game, whilst Perry raced into a 7-0 lead to extinguish any hopes of his Chinese opponent Zhang Anda. And both still harbour realistic hopes of taking the world crown after having sterling seasons.
Despite the anguish of narrowly losing in the Wuxi Classic final back in June, Perry won an Asian Tour title before realising a dream in Thailand by lifting the Players Championship – his first ever major victory in a career spanning over two decades. He’s also been quite bullish and confident, proclaiming to the press this week that he can be the world champion.
Murphy has already felt that experience back in 2005, and came to Sheffield this time as one of the favourites with a number of wins under his belt this term; his Masters succsess in January also completed a career ‘triple crown’.
The landscape of the event has changed for this pair, with the knowledge that defending champ Mark Selby has already been eliminated. It represents a great opportunity for the duo, as whoever survives will be favourite against giant killer debutant Anthony McGill in the quarter final.
I’m convinced this match will be closer than people think, Perry really is on a crest of a wave. In career meetings Murphy shades it, although he has a 100 percent record in major ranking events. They’ve never clashed in a game of such a long distance though.
I think ‘The Magician’ Murphy will win, but it will go down to the third session. Perry +3.5 frames is Evens with Coral. He basically needs to get to 10.
Joe Perry v Shaun Murphy – Joe Perry +3.5 Frames (Evens Coral)