China Championship: Shaun Murphy beats Mark Williams in final frame

Shaun Murphy
Murphy's first ranking title was the 2005 World Championship

Shaun Murphy captured his first ranking title since March 2017 with an absorbing 10-9 victory over Mark Williams at the China Championship.

Murphy, 37, made a 137 to lead 5-4 at the interval and added his 499th career century in building a 9-5 advantage.

But world number three Williams won the next four frames, taking the match to a decider with a sublime break of 132.

World number 14 Murphy responded with a run of 69 which proved enough to secure his eighth ranking victory.

Murphy lost in the first round in six of his first 11 tournaments last season and in February told the BBC it was the "worst run" of his career.

Improved form this season saw him finish as beaten finalist in two events in China and he made a strong start in his effort to go a stage further in Guangzhou, building a 2-0 lead before three-time world champion Williams rallied, compiling a 143 break as he went 4-3 up.

World number three Williams, 44, won the most recent of his 22 ranking titles at the World Open in China in August last year when he came from 9-5 down to beat David Gilbert.

The Welshman, who saw his 4-3 lead turn into the 9-5 deficit, was bidding to become the oldest winner of a ranking event since Doug Mountjoy claimed the 1989 Classic at the age of 46. A perfectly controlled double into the centre pocket began his second century as he fought back to force the decider.

However, Murphy, who had lost his last six ranking finals, sank a superb long opening red in the 19th frame en route to the title.

"I was getting very uncomfortable in my chair," Murphy said of the Williams comeback. "It was horrible, I felt sick, I couldn't breath, couldn't see straight, it was very difficult to get over the line.

"That 69 break is one of the best of my life bearing in mind what had gone on before it."

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