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Shaun Murphy hails “phenomenal” Jack Lisowski after UK Championship rout

Jonathan Davies in UK Championship

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Lisowski earned his first win at the Masters (PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo)

Shaun Murphy is confident “phenomenal” Jack Lisowski will win this year’s UK Championship following his quarter-final defeat in York.

The 2008 champion’s quest for a second title end in a comprehensive manner on Friday, as an inspired Lisowski roared to a commanding 6-1 rout at the York Barbican.

The six-time ranking runner-up hit four successive centuries – becoming the ninth player in history to do so – on the way to reaching his maiden semi-final in a Triple Crown event.

And should he continue to replicate those performance levels, Murphy is adamant the long wait for his first ranking silverware will soon be over.

“Unbelievably well played to Jack; it was phenomenal,” the Magician told Eurosport.

“I think there’ll have been a few sessions in my career where I’ll have walked into a Ronnie [O’Sullivan], or a John Higgins, or a Mark Williams just having one of those days. But that is right up there [with the best anyone has played against him].

“The thing that makes our game probably the hardest single-player sport in the world – other than fighting – is that you don’t get a shot; your next shot could be your last.

“To make the breaks he made in the way he made them, at the speed he makes them, with the ease he makes them – if he plays like that, he wins [the tournament] – straightforward.”

Murphy had won five of his six previous meetings with Lisowski and threatened to snatch the opening frame, countering his opponent’s break of 67 with a neat clearance to force a re-spotted black. But the left-hander held his nerve to draw first blood.

It was one-way traffic thereon. Murphy’s missed red on 28 in frame two was pounced on by Lisowski, who magnificently cleared with 105, before breaks of 127, 123 and 100 put him on the brink of victory.

The Magician averted the whitewash with a brilliant 111 clearance, but sportingly called a foul on himself when looking good to reduce the deficit further in the following frame, which his opponent snatched on the black to seal the deal.

Lisowski was active in Cue Zone at the Barbican earlier this week, producing a masterclass alongside good friend Judd Trump, while providing tips and interacting with supporters. And the world number 12 hopes his performance against Murphy will further inspire the next generation.

“I think that’s how I would love to always play snooker, but obviously it’s not possible,” he told WST.

“Everything was going in today. The white ball was going where I wanted it; the balls were going in the middle of the pockets. I just kept my focus. When it’s like that, the game feels quite easy.

“To inspire players would be the dream. If some little kids pick up a cue and start playing because of that then it would be a great feeling.

“It’s easy to try and promote it, but good snooker speaks for itself. That’s probably why everyone loves Ronnie so much, because he produces the best snooker the most regularly. I guess you can only talk so much; sometimes, you’ve just got to pot the balls as well.”