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Murphy survives Selby fightback to reach Tour Championship final

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Murphy scraped through a 10-9 winner (Photo by John Walton/PA Images/Alamy Stock)

Shaun Murphy withstood a stubborn Mark Selby fightback to prevail 10-9 and book his place in the Tour Championship final.

The Magician advanced to his 25th ranking final, where he will play Kyren Wilson at the Bonus Arena in Hull on Sunday.

Having trailed 3-1, Murphy surged into a commanding 9-6 lead but Selby – seeking his first ITV-televised final appearance – produced a trademark comeback to force a deciding frame.

However, the Magician held his nerve with a run of 59 eventually proving enough to see him over the line.

“[Mark] never knows when he’s beaten,” he told ITV.

“He’s beaten me on enough of these big nights – of course, he beat me in the World Championship final a couple of years ago. We’ve had so many great matches – tonight was another one of those.

“It’s a massive event and a great series. Players play all year to get here; it’s just Kyren and I that are left. I can’t wait to go head to head with him.”

“Of course, if he plays like he did in his previous match [against Ding Junhui], we needn’t bother!” he joked.

“I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game, I think it’ll be a really good day for us both, and one of us will be stood here with the trophy.”

Murphy overcame Selby 6-3 in their most recent meeting at the Players Championship, and he drew first blood with a neat clearance of 96.

The Jester won the next three frames with breaks of 67, 63 and 50, but runs of 69, 52 and 60 helped the Magician take three of the following four to level at 4-4.

There was nothing to separate the players after the opening four frames of the evening; Selby producing breaks of 99 and 75 to cancel out contributions of 71 and 100 from Murphy, who controlled frame 13 to lead 7-6.

World number two Selby threatened to overturn heavy deficits in the next two frames, but was unable to capitalise on each occasion and enabled Murphy to move to the brink of victory at 9-6 up.

With his back against the wall, the four-time World champion demonstrated his trademark tenacity with breaks of 81, 78 and 106 to take the mouth-watering contest the distance.

He had the first opportunity of the decider, but could not achieve position on the black. A poor safety followed soon after, and Murphy produced what proved to be a match-winning contribution of 59.

“I gave it everything. I never give in until the last ball’s potted,” Selby said.

“I fell asleep halfway through the match. In the second session, I lost a bit of concentration; I played a few shots where I wasn’t really ready to play the shot or didn’t really know what shot to play.”

“I gave it my all from 9-6. I had half a chance in the decider. But all credit to Shaun, he played great. He looked like he was going to score at every single chance he got, and I wish him all the best in the final.”