Shaun Murphy dodged a Belgian bullet as Luca Brecel ran into pink peril and bowed out in the quarter-finals of the williamhill.com UK Championship.
Seventeen-year-old Brecel was twice on the brink of a famous victory at just his second major tournament. But the rising star missed crucial pinks in the tenth and 11th frames to allow Murphy to capitalise both times.
The second steal clinched a 6-5 victory for the 2008 UK champion, setting up a semi-final today against Stuart Bingham’s conqueror Ali Carter.
Murphy pointed to strong words at the interval from his manager Brandon Parker as a key factor in his victory.
“Brandon gave me a good talking-to at the interval that would have rivalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s half-time talks, and it really knocked me into shape,” Murphy said. “It’s lucky there were no hairdryers in that dressing room. I think I’d have got one. Without Brandon’s words I’d have lost the match.”
Carter came through 6-4 against fellow Essex potter Bingham, firing a total clearance of 134 before holding off a charge from the Premier League champion.
The world No 15 has concerns over his form, however, and said: “I don’t feel like I’ve played particularly great yet but I’m in the semis and I’d take that. I’m going to have to find some form to go on and win the tournament.”