Chatteris potter Joe Perry is on the verge of exiting the World Snooker Championship in round two after a day to forget against Shaun Murphy.
Perry, up to ninth in the world rankings, trailed 7-1 at the end of the morning session and must come back this morning (April 27) with the seemingly impossible task of overturning a 12-4 deficit if he is to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since 2008.
On a day of domination on the tables at Sheffield, reigning Masters champion Murphy looks set to be joined in the last eight by Judd Trump, as well as former champions Neil Robertson and Ronnie O’Sullivan, who all hold commanding leads.
Murphy looked set to storm through with a session to spare after dominating both the morning and evening sessions, but Perry at least made a fist of it to ensure the match would go the distance.
Level after two, Murphy knocked in an eye-catching 121 then followed up with breaks of 68 and 79 to take a commanding lead.
Perry finally got out of his chair to score 66, but Murphy proved too strong once more.
He returned later that night in a blood orange suit that matched the Crucible carpet and extended his advantage to 10-2 at the interval.
‘The Magician’ is enjoying some of his finest form in recent times, with back-to-back European Tour event wins as well as a place in February’s German Masters final already under his belt.
But he was able to keep plenty in reserve en route to extending his lead, needed just two half centuries to keep the momentum going.
Perry, though, clawed his way back into the contest with a 74 break enough to win frame 12 and then produced a timely century break – his first of the tournament – to keep ‘The Magician’ at arm’s length, albeit briefly.
Frame 14 was to-and-fro, Murphy though eventually triumphed courtesy of a 40 clearance with the finish line now in sight.
And though he missed out on a century in the next, the Nottingham star moved within touching distance of meeting with world No32 Anthony McGill – slayer of reigning world champion Mark Selby in round two.
Yet they will have to return today after Perry won the final frame of the evening with a 74 break.
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