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Stevens to face Murphy in world snooker final
May 01, 2005 09:03 IST
Welshman Matthew Stevens will meet English qualifier Shaun Murphy in the final of the World snooker championship.
Stevens went through to his second world final with a 17-14 win over England's Ian McCulloch while Murphy advanced after a 17-12 victory over eighth seed Peter Ebdon.
Sixth seed Stevens took the opening frame on the resumption on Saturday morning to grab a 9-8 lead, the first time he had been in front in the match. McCulloch, though, battled back from 12-10 down to level at 12-12 going into the final session.
The Welshman claimed the first frame of the evening to edge in front again. He then had a chance to record a maximum 147 break in the 27th but failed to pot the blue after finding himself out of position.
Stevens, who lost the 2000 world final, went 15-13 ahead after the unseeded McCulloch went in off the black before winning two of the next three frames to clinch victory.
"It was a hard battle all the way through the match because Ian never gave up," Stevens told reporters.
Looking ahead to his meeting with the unseeded Murphy, Stevens said: "He's playing fantastic at the moment. It's going to be a very entertaining final because we both go for our shots."
McCulloch said: "Matthew deserved to win overall. I've got to hold my hand up and say I've lost to a better player.
"I hope he now goes on and wins it because he's gone close on several occasions."
Earlier, 22-year-old Murphy overcame fellow Englishman Ebdon to become the first qualifier to reach the final since Welshman Terry Griffiths in 1979.
The pair resumed at 12-12 and Murphy reeled off the first five frames of the last session.
"I've been told for a long time that I had the talent to make it to the final of the world championship, and now I have it is a dream come true," said Murphy.
"Before the final session, I didn't manage to eat anything in the morning or at lunch. But once my hand touched the green baize, I felt at home.
"I'm going to be going all out to win it in the final. I'll try and play my natural game. With me getting married, I'll have a nice little nest egg if I win."
The best-of-35 frame final starts on Sunday afternoon.