Electrified Dott claws his way back

Shaun Murphy felt the full force of an electrified Graeme Dott as the Scot hauled himself level in their high-stakes Crucible battle.

Electrified Dott claws his way back

From 6-2 behind at the start of the session, Dott forced his way level at 8-8, teeing up a tantalising climax to the best-of-25-frames second-round match at the Betfair World Championship last night.

Dott was terrific, which was to his great credit as he could easily have been put out of his stride by the static shocks he was suffering before the players took an early interval.

The man who carried off the title in 2006 was suffering when he cued near the cushions, unlike Murphy who appeared untroubled. When Dott explained the situation to referee Brendan Moore, it was agreed they should leave the arena.

Bizarrely, a tournament official was sent out to spray the carpet with water.

Ken Doherty, the 1997 world champion, said on BBC2 as the match was interrupted: “It’s quite strange only Graeme Dott is getting the static from the table.

“I’ve never seen this at the Crucible. Maybe he has to change his shoes.”

Asked about Dott’s problems, assistant tournament director Martin Clark later said: “Graeme pointed out to referee Brendan Moore at the end of the 11th frame that he had been feeling static shocks.

“There are steel blocks on the cushions and especially if Graeme had any metal in his shoes that may have caused it.

“We called the players in for the mid-session interval a frame early and sprayed the carpet with water, and that stopped the shocks.”

There still seemed to be faint crackles of static after the interval, but nothing as troubling as earlier. Dott is bidding to keep Scottish hopes alive, with 1988 the last year his country had no representative in the quarter-finals.

Murphy dropped the opening two frames in the morning but hit back with a break of 65 in the next to take a 7-4 lead. Dott continued to scythe away at Murphy’s lead and fired in breaks of 59, 61 and 56 to level up at 7-7.

When Murphy left the white hanging over the brim of the yellow pocket from a safety in the next frame, Dott jumped up and down, hoping it would drop to make his next shot easier. Alas it was highly difficult and Dott sent the white into the diagonally opposite pocket to hand Murphy a chance he seized upon, making 61 as he edged 8-7 ahead.

The final frame was edgy, Dott going ahead with an early 37 before Murphy replied with 48. A battle on the colours was won by Dott, who potted green to pink to make it honours even after 16 frames.

World number three Mark Selby had early runs of 98 and 103 and sneaked ahead of Barry Hawkins, leading 5-3 after the first session of their second-round exchange.

Former finalist Judd Trump fired in breaks of 109 and 127 yesterday afternoon in building an early 4-2 lead against Marco Fu in their second-round match.

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