Snooker: Hendry escapes Murphy's claw

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Date: Feb. 6, 2001
Publisher: Guardian Newspapers
Document Type: Brief article
Length: 285 words

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Byline: Clive Everton at Wembley

Stephen Hendry, six-times the Benson and Hedges Masters champion, was given a fright by the 18-year-old Shaun Murphy before a 6-4 victory gave him a quarter-final against the winner of tonight's match between Ronnie O'Sullivan and Jimmy White.

Murphy, the world No150 from Irthlingborough, came through eight matches to win the satellite tournament at Malvern in November and gain his wild card.

Full of confidence from a recent 147 and six centuries in a Challenge Tour qualifier, he made two more in sweeping aside Marco Fu on Sunday and for a time threatened Hendry's demise yesterday.

Although Hendry's 99 clearance put him one up, he totalled only 39 points in the next four frames as Murphy went into a 4-1 lead.

But the magnitude of the situation suddenly seemed to dawn on the newcomer and a few unforced errors gave Hendry just the encouragement he needed as a string of breaks, including 94, 56, 78 and 71, took him to victory as Murphy potted only 15 points in the final five frames.

"I'm very proud of myself but I feel a bit drained," said Murphy, of whom much more will surely be heard.

Dave Harold, so often a cameo player, seized a starring role yesterday by beating John Higgins 6-3. "To qualify to play here is great in itself, so to beat someone of John's calibre is fantastic," said Harold, for whom the 1993 Asian Open remains his only major title.

"I was beginning to think John was on a very different level but he missed a few balls and at 3-3 I sensed I had a chance." It was his first victory over the 1999 champion in six attempts.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A71414523