Shaun Murphy told his fellow players to stop moaning about the tables after reaching the quarter-finals of the 888.com World Championship with a 13-7 victory over Steve Davis today.
The title-holder, aiming to end the jinx on first-time champions defending the crown, admitted conditions were far from ideal but insisted players should adjust their game instead of complaining.
Resuming 11-5 up against the six-times former champion, Murphy completed his success without producing the devastating break-building that had swept away his opponents 12 months ago.
A poor safety shot on the green by Davis let in Murphy for a 54 that put him one frame away from progressing, before the ‘Nugget’ gave his supporters something to cheer by taking the next two.
In frame 20 Davis missed a long red and another break of 54 sent Murphy through to a Crucible Theatre quarter-final against either Peter Ebdon or David Gray.
Organisers of the tournament have already confirmed the much-criticised tables will be re-clothed before play begins tomorrow afternoon, but Murphy feels no excuses should be made.
“The pockets are playing smaller and the cloth is quite heavy so you have to hit the ball harder,” said the Rotherham-based 23-year-old.
“Play stagnated a bit every now and again between me and Steve and it was a bit stop-start, but it’s the same for everyone.
“I’m amazed at how many players have moaned about the speed of the tables. You just have to adapt and get on with it.
“I find it strange that players think the tables should be the same for every tournament. You don’t get identical conditions all the time in other sports.
“I don’t know if they are making excuses but adjusting to different conditions is as much of a skill as screwing the white ball back 10 feet, and this situation just highlights the players who can adapt.”
Davis had his own perception of why the tables had proven so tricky but did not offer them as an explanation for his defeat.
“It’s not the cloth’s fault but we’ve had a lot of rain and it feels dampish in the arena,” said the 48-year-old. “The moisture in the air seems to have got into the cloth.
“I’m just disappointed with the way I started the match and then I played like a dog to go from 6-2 to 8-2 down. But I still enjoyed the match even though it was a kind of masochistic enjoyment.”
On the adjacent table, Mark Williams continued to look a live contender for the title as he extended his overnight 5-3 advantage over Mark Selby to 10-5.