Alexandra Palace, London - 15-22 January
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PHOTOS FROM THE MATCH
BGC Masters 2012 - Shaun Murphy v John Higgins Semi-Final
Tonight's encounter was a repeat of their 2009 world championship final in which John Higgins got the better of Shaun Murphy on that occasion, but today the Magician got some matter of revenge as battled out to become a 6-4 winner.
In the first two frames, Higgins didn't pot a single ball as Murphy raced to a 2-0 lead with contributions of 86 and 101. He further extended his lead to 3-0 after Higgins could only make 63 before Murphy hit back straight away with a 69 clearance.
Higgins managed to get a frame on the board in a hard fought fourth frame to peg it back to 3-1 before the interval. When they resumed, the Wizard of Wishaw showed his trademark grit to to sneak another scrappy frame to reduce his deficit to only 3-2 behind.
Murphy made a sensational 122 break in the sixth frame to regain his two frame cushion once again at 4-2. Higgins wouldn't go down without a fight though and took another frame with the help of a 59 break to close once again at 4-3.
In the eighth Murphy made his third century break of the match, a classy 100 break to go two clear again at 5-3. Having to rely on his 'b game' once again after Murphy could only score 1, Higgins went straight back in a made a 72 break to go to 5-4 behind.
It was looking more likely that we were going to have our first decider as Higgins looked to clear the colours, but ran out of position on the pink and stuck it up for Murphy who slotted it in for a 6-4 victory.
It will be hard to pick between tomorrow's finalists. Both Murphy and Robertson have never been in a Masters final before, but Robertson has the unique record of being in six major finals before and winning all six.
Shaun also has the added pressure that if he wins the title he will become only the eighth player to win snooker's 'triple crown' of all three majors (UK, World and the Masters titles).
Whoever wins it should be a thrilling encounter between the two. We haven't had a single final frame decider all tournament yet, could it happen in the final?
Murphy; 'I'm please to get through in the end. If I had won six black ball re-spots I would have been pleased to have come through, I thought I played very well tonight. Obviously I came second in the tactical department, which you always do against John. I was pleased when I did get my chances I managed to score heavily, so hopefully more of the same tomorrow.
John is absolute granite, he is hard as nails. He never knows when to give up, he is a very tough man to play. Now I have got Neil in the final, it doesn't get any easier for me this event. Neil has never lost a final, even though they were ranking events. Lets hope it changes tomorrow.
Currently there are only seven players who have won all three majors so if I win tomorrow I will be the eighth. If I go in thinking about all that then I have no chance. Ignoring the clichés I will go in one ball at a time, one frame at a time.'
Higgins; 'It would have been a travesty if I won that match, I missed five or six easy balls that you shouldn’t miss at this level. Shaun was hitting the ball really well but I couldn’t believe that I nearly come back to five each the way I felt I was playing, I tried to dig in but in the end the best man won.'