Shaun Murphy would like to see Reanne Evans compete in snooker’s main tour and believes it is “a disgrace” that she does not receive greater recognition.

Murphy narrowly avoided a major shock against the 12-time women’s world champion at the Champion of Champions event in Coventry.

Evans, the first female player to be involved in the tournament, battled back from three frames down to level at 3-3 before being denied a fairytale victory by Murphy’s fine break of 130 in the decider.

World number eight Murphy, who then failed to progress to the overall semi-finals after being beaten 6-5 by Neil Robertson in the Group Four final, feels Evans’ achievements deserve more credit.

“It’s a funny world we live in. This woman here, she’s a 12-time champion of the world completely disregarded by the general British sporting public at large,” Murphy told ITV4.

“People are throwing MBEs and awards out at people left, right and centre – she’s got 12 world titles to her name and nothing after her name. It’s a disgrace.

“It was a tough game of snooker, she didn’t disgrace herself at all, and I really hope we see more of her on the main tour events.”

Shaun Murphy, left, was beaten by Neil Robertson in the Group Four final
Shaun Murphy, left, was beaten by Neil Robertson, right, in the Group Four final (Nigel Roddis/PA)

Evans recorded a highest break of 51 in the biggest payday of her career, with first-round losers at the Ricoh Arena receiving £12,500.

The 34-year-old, who beat Robin Hull in the first qualifying round of the 2017 World Championship, was assured place in the invitational tournament when Ronnie O’Sullivan, who had already qualified, retained the Shanghai Masters last month.

Asked about critics who have said Evans should not be involved, Murphy replied: “The only people who said things like that don’t know what they are talking about.”

Former world champion Murphy, winner of this competition in 2017, once again surrendered a three-frame lead in his best-of-11 meeting with Robertson.

Australian Robertson, who has won the Welsh Open and China Open in 2019, levelled with breaks of 95, 90 and 100 and eventually took the final two frames of a tight encounter to progress to the semi-finals.

The 37-year-old will face the winner of Group One, which includes five-time world champion O’Sullivan, in the last four on Friday. Earlier in the day, he whitewashed Martin Gould 4-0 in the other Group Four semi-final.

Evans hopes her performance has inspired more women to play the sport.

“They’ve seen me out there, I’ve actually competed at the end, and hopefully they can see themselves in my shoes in a few years’ time,” she said in an interview posted on the Champion of Champions Twitter page.