THE ‘Magician’ Shaun Murphy is starting to cast a spell over York’s williamhill.com UK Championship – but he left Graeme Dott wondering whether he was “finished” in the game.
Murphy blew Dott away 6-2 in a enthralling display at the Barbican tonight to seize a quarter-final clash with either Mark King or Luca Brecel and reckons it is down to going back to his attacking roots.
“When I burst onto the scene and I was going for these ridiculous shots everyone told me I was wrong,” he said.
“I’ve had to sit back and watch all these young kids coming out playing my style of snooker – that I invented – and it’s really annoyed me.
“So I have decided to go back to doing what I do best and attack the balls. It just shows me I was on the right track when I was 22 and I should have stayed on that. Maybe I would have won a few more events.
“It’s not too late for me to turn round and go back to that and I’ve never forgotten how to attack. I’ve decided to go back to my strengths and I’ll give it a good run.”
The 30-year-old, the UK champion in Telford in 2008, dominated Dott with some heavy scoring – playing a series of high quality frames after the interval.
He already led 3-1 by then and was immediately back in the groove after the restart.
A stylish clearance of 130 gave him a commanding advantage and, in the seventh frame, a perfectly executed swerve to pot a red over the bottom pocket led to 75 and a 5-2 lead.
Dott had no answer to the 2005 world champion’s authority and limped out – leaving him dispirited.
“I’ve not been happy for a while. I just don’t think I’m the same player I was,” he said.
“I don’t think there is anyone in the top 16 that can play as badly as I can play in some matches and it is not good enough.
“I’ve no idea (why) and, hopefully, it’s not just because of my age. I’m 35 and I don’t know if I have had it. Maybe I am finished.
“It’s not the worst I’ve ever played. I probably played worse against (Martin) Gould in the match before.
“I never used to be that bad. I just don’t seem to score anymore. I don’t seem to do anything the way I did before.
“I’m still hitting the ball okay in practice before I go out there. Then I get out there and play as if I have never seen a venue before.
“Maybe it is just a bad patch but it doesn’t feel that way.”
In tonight’s other game, Stuart Bingham beat Stephen Maguire 6-4.