Shaun Murphy has admitted he has endured the “worst season of my life” but is hopeful that low expectations can help him at the Crucible.
Shaun Murphy says he felt like his old self again after whitewashing Chinese qualifier Luo Honghao at the Betfred World Championship.
Murphy achieved a rare feat at the Crucible after beating the young Chinese hopeful 10-0 in the first round proper of the tournament, something which has not been achieved since 1992 when John Parrott, who won the tournament that year, beat Eddie Charlton by the same score line.
Coming into the Betfred World Championship as number 13 seed after a very disappointing year on the tour, Murphy (28/1 World Championship Outright) may have been forgiven for showing signs of nerves at the stage where he won as a qualifier himself.
However, four century breaks put him in total control as he ended the first day 9-0 up and it did not take him long to complete the job in the afternoon session as his 19-year-old opponent recorded the lowest number of points in a Betfred World Championship match with just 89 across all ten frames, and Murphy admits he felt for the youngster.
“After the season I have had, never in my wildest dreams did I think I could come here and win 10-0,” he told World Snooker. “Going out this morning, it was tough to try to put that potential 10-0 to the back of my mind and try to play the right shots.
“Luo is a very talented player and to get to the Crucible in your first pro season is an amazing achievement. I’m sure he will use this as inspiration. The arena here can do funny things to the best of us so he should shrug it off and move on.
“This has been the worst season of my life, I have been in a daze. Yesterday I felt like Shaun Murphy again. In a way I’m looking forward to this season being over, but while I’m here I’ll give it my best.”
He plays number four seed Neil Robertson in the next match (Robertson 1/3, Murphy 12/5 – Match Betting), who, in stark contrast, has had a great year on the tour and enjoyed a convincing opening win of his own, beating Michael Georgiou 10-1.
However, Murphy says him being the underdog could help him upset the odds.
“Neil Robertson has had a brilliant season and he’ll be the overwhelming favourite. I’ll just be trying to stay with him. No one is expecting me to win and that suits me fine,” he added.
Odds subject to change.