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Murphy edges in front but World trophy up for grabs


Final rivals: Mark Selby (left) and Shaun Murphy pose with the trophy

Final rivals: Mark Selby (left) and Shaun Murphy pose with the trophy

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Final rivals: Mark Selby (left) and Shaun Murphy pose with the trophy

Baize rivals Mark Selby and Shaun Murphy are locked in a tantalisingly-poised World Championship final after an absorbing first two sessions in front of a near-capacity Crucible crowd.

With the Sheffield venue almost full under the Sunday night lights, both players exchanged blow after blow in the showpiece but neither was able to open up a decisive advantage.

Murphy, crowned king of the Crucible as a 22-year-old qualifier in 2005, led 7-6 midway through the evening session after edging a cagey 13th frame following the mid-session interval.

Three-time world champion Selby, 37, had toppled 2015 Crucible king Stuart Bingham in a 17-15 thriller the previous evening and showed signs of fatigue with a slow start yesterday afternoon.

World No.7 Murphy, who blew away 2020 runner-up Kyren Wilson in the semi-final took the first first two frames but Selby notched a total of 66 points in the sixth to restore parity before Murphy rattled in breaks of 64 and 52 to haul himself into a 5-3 lead heading into the evening.

It was Selby who struck first to reduce the deficit. The Jester from Leicester knocked in a majestic break of 85 but Murphy responded as a fine 98 of his own re-established his two-frame advantage.

But Selby, a 19-time ranking event winner, hit back as consecutive visits of 67 and 86 made it six frames apiece at the mid-session interval. Murphy edged the 13th frame to open up a slender lead once more, however, with the action mouth-wateringly poised heading into today's climax.

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Watch the World Snooker Championship live on Eurosport and Eurosport app from April 17- May 3

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