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Murphy and Fu fight for right to make UK snooker quarter-finals

We’ve got a repeat of the 2008 UK Championship final on our hands in this year’s last 16 between Shaun Murphy and Marco Fu. It’s Rotherham native Murphy that tournament sponsors Coral make odds-on 1/2 to win their latest battle.

At snooker’s Triple Crown events (this one, the Masters and the World Championship from Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre), ‘the Magician’ has never lost to Hong Ku cueman Fu, which is why the latter is a match outsider at 13/8.

From 18 total head-to-heads, Murphy, who is third-favourite to win this title again at 7/1, is 11-7 up on Fu, and in recent meetings over a best of 11 frames format has triumphed 6-4 on two occasions. A repeat result here is an 11/2 chance.

Coral are offering some matchday specials on this sure to be memorable encounter between two top drawer potters. For Murphy to make the highest break and win the match, odds of 11/8 are available. If it’s Fu you fancy for those feats, take an alternative price of 9/2.

When they contested the final of this event some six years ago, it went the distance. Odds of 16/5 say there will be a deciding frame between Murphy and Fu here.

Also in action on the baize is Bristol’s ‘Ace in the Pack’ Judd Trump. At a best price 11/4 for the tournament, he tackles Rod Lawler, who stunned sixth seed Mark Allen in round three.

Like Murphy and Fu, these two have met at the UK Championship before. That was back in 2006, but a then teenage Trump lost to Lawler in the last 64. A repeat of that would be a shock now, however, as the chief of ‘Naughty Snooker’ is a strong odds-on 1/5 favourite.

Opponent Lawler is a 7/2 shot to add Trump to Allen as big names knocked out. This list also includes former winners John Higgins, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Mark Williams.

Blink and you’ll miss him, ‘the Rocket’ Ronnie O’Sullivan is the tournament favourite at 7/4, being a four-time UK champion, fourth seed and an all-round snooker genius. He takes on occasional practice partner Matthew Selt, but is heavily odds-on at 1/8 to show no mercy to his friend.

Rockie Ronnie, despite the discomfort of a broken ankle, has been rampant at the Barbican Centre, dropping just seven frames in his three previous matches at this year’s event. Selt is therefore a rank outsider for their match at 5/1.

O’Sullivan is slightly better value at 4/9 if punters back him in Coral’s match special that has him winning and making the highest break of this encounter.

Finally, the winner of the match between 2004 UK champion Stephen ‘On Fire’ Maguire and Selby slayer David Morris will complete the quarter-final line up.

Despite his opponent’s giant-killing of the reigning Crucible king in round two, Scottish potter Maguire is an odds-on 2/9 favourite for victory. Another upset from Kilkenny cueman Morris looks remote at 10/3.