Shaun Murphy was two frames away from a place in the semi-finals of the Betfred.com World Championship as he moved 11-9 in front against Stephen Hendry this morning.
Despite Hendry’s 147 yesterday, the Scot had thrown away a 5-2 lead to trail 9-7.
He looked like falling 12-8 behind going to the mid-session interval today but a gutsy break of 25 allowed him to pinch the 20th frame of the match on the black.
Hendry needed to start well but from 38-0 ahead in the opening frame he managed to lose it to fall further behind in the match, Murphy making a 59 break.
Hendry then became stuck on 37 at the start of the next frame, missing a long blue. Murphy made 40 before missing a red along the cushion, and Hendry put him in trouble with a devilish snooker.
Murphy could not escape and Hendry took his chance to win the frame.
However yesterday’s maximum man could not build momentum and Murphy made a run of 73 to go 11-8 ahead.
Murphy was 52-13 up in the final frame before the mid-session interval when he missed a straightforward black.
Hendry stalled on 15, but he pounced after being handed another chance when Murphy missed the green.
While Hendry remained in danger of a quarter-final exit, his fellow Scot John Higgins was in better shape.
Higgins, champion in 1998 and 2007, moved from 4-4 to 7-5 in front as his match against Mark Selby remained a high-quality contest.
The standard had been scarcely believable yesterday, with Selby making three centuries and a break of 96 but still being unable to take charge.
Higgins made breaks of 77, 39, 56 and 83 to go 7-4 clear.
But Selby halted his opponent’s charge with a break of 77 before the mid-session interval, and the Leicester man’s match potting success rate stood at a remarkable 96%.