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Magician Murphy eyes record World Championship crown

Reigning Masters champion Shaun Murphy begins his quest to achieve another snooker record at the Crucible this year, as he contests experienced Finnish potter Robin Hull in their World Championship first round matchup.

‘The Magician’ Murphy will be aiming to recapture the prolific potting form that seen him claim the 2015 Masters title, a win which earned him sporting immortality as the 32-year-old completed a famous Triple Crown.

Harlow-born Murphy, 9/1 with Coral to reign in Sheffield, recently joined Neil Robertson, Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ronnie O’Sullivan, Terry Griffiths, Alex and John Higgins, Mark Williams and Mark Selby in having won the World, UK and Masters titles in their clinical careers.

However, the five-time ranking event winner is chasing a second Crucible crown, amazingly a decade on from his maiden triumph in Sheffield’s prestigious tournament, which would earn him another historic moment.

If the magical cueist was to become a multiple Crucible king next month, Murphy would become only the fifth player ever to have won both the Masters and World Championships in the same year, emulating Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis, Ray Reardon and Mark Williams in doing so.

Despite his career spanning 17 years, Murphy has seen many world title attempts fall short, after making such a sensational start in 2005, rallying to a Crucible coup as a 22-year-old qualifier.

“I should have beaten Mark Selby in 2007 but lost in the semi-final after being so far ahead, that was a missed chance. I didn’t really feature in the final against John Higgins in 2009,” said Murphy.

Snooker - 2015 Dafabet Masters - Day Eight - Alexandra Palace

Murphy’s achievements are made even more monumental, having almost quit the sport altogether 12 months ago, but he is odds-on 1/2 to toppled Hull in his Crucible opener and make the highest break, while his Finland-born opponent is 9/2 to cause a major upset.

“However, it is a venue I feel happy in and love to play snooker at the Crucible. It would be unbelievable to win the world title again,” he continued.

“When you talk about multiple world champions, you are in the same breath as Stephen Hendry, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Steve Davis. To be in that group would be fantastic.”

Snooker - 2015 Dafabet Masters - Day Two - Alexandra Palace

Meanwhile, ‘the Juddernaut’ Judd Trump kickstarts his Crucible campaign in against World Championship newcomer Stuart Carrington, with the world number six available at 6/1 to win 10-2, and his inexperienced counterpart is a 10/1 shot to cause a Sheffield shock.

Elsewhere, Joe ‘the Gentleman’ Perry contests Chinese potting prospect Zhang Anda, with the young cueist a 5/1 chance to overcome the 40-year-old in his Crucible debut.