Sunday, 5 October 2014

2014 Bulgarian Open - Magical Murphy wins title

Shaun Murphy - the 2014 Bulgarian Open champion
Shaun Murphy won 4-2 over Martin Gould to win this year's 2014 Victoria Bulgarian Open trophy and his first ranking title this season.

If the previous season was closed with only two wins (The Gdynia Open from Poland and the World Open from China), Shaun made a fresh start and added a very important victory, even though it’s a minor ranking event, to his snooker portfolio.

During his journey to the grand final, “The Magician” had to face a very "back-for-good" Jimmy White, whom he beat 4-0 though, a very stubborn Stephen Maguire, whom he kneed down by 4-2, but also the reigning world champion Mark Selby whom he defeated in the quarter-finals by the same scoreline.

At the opposite corner, his final opponent Martin Gould had a very good run, beating Ricky Walden by 4-1, Mark Davis 4-2 and a very "grindery" Peter Ebdon with the same aforementioned scoreline.

Martin Gould - the 2014 Bulgarian Open runner-up
The final started with a very in-form Murphy leading the offensive in a very fast and furious manner, a top break of 44 being exactly what the doctor recommended in order to take the opening frame.

However, the pace of the match slowed down a bit as the second frame started, Martin trying to make up for being taken by surprise during the previous frame. It was a bit of a struggle for the man that the same Shaun Murphy defeated back in 2011 in the Players Tour Champinship Grand Finals, but in the end he hit a decisive 60 break to draw level at one apiece.

Gould's contribution continued during the third frame with runs of 45 and 16, runs that were guarantying him to take the lead.

Shaun's delighted with the victory
Murphy, on the other hand, had other plans and starting with the next frame he was careful enough to keep his opponent away from the table as far as possible.

Focused and totally determined to set foot over the victory line, Murphy started his comeback with a tremendous 89 break, followed by a 99 and a 63 in the last frame. 

Incredibly long perfect shots and a very aggressive way of proving he means business were the key elements that can describe Shaun's approach to win the beautiful Bulgarian title.

Very gracious in defeat, Martin applauded his opponent's best shots throughout the entire match and was the first to congratulate him on his victory, while a very emotional Murphy said he's delighted with the win and that he is looking forward to returning in Sofia next year.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

2014 Shanghai Masters - Crystal clear victory for Bingham

Stuart Bingham - the 2014 Shanghai Masters champion
Stuart Bingham obtained a unquestionable victory of 10-3 over Mark Allen, the recent Paul Hunter Classic champion, in his quest for grabbing the 2014 Shanghai Masters trophy and his second ranking title.

It was back in 2011 when Stuart Bingham was defeating Mark Williams in a cracking Australian Open final, in order to get his first ranking title, so it was about time to see the 38-year-old lad capture another one after having a pretty good season, if I may say so.

Although the final wasn't by far an entertaining one, it had its sparkle here and there, even though many of us would have wanted to see a more balanced result. Unfortunately, after mastering the art of snooker in such an amazing way throughout the entire tournament, it seemed it was no energy left in Mark Allen's body.

Mark Allen - the 2014 Shanghai Masters runner-up
Bingham took his chance and practically flew at 4-0, leaving his opponent way behind and setting not just a physically gap, but also a mental one.

However, Allen battled hard and managed to pull back three frames, ending up trailing by 5-3, just as the last frame of the first session was starting. And if it wasn't for a green, Allen would have pulled back another one. Sadly for him though, the first session ended with Stuart in control 6-3.

The last session was purely dominated by the Englishman, who although has played far from his best, managed to close the deal by 10-3.

The champ at work

After a 35-minutes frame which went Bingham's way (even if Allen scored the highest break per frame - a 42 one) the following three were relatively easy wins as Stuart hit in breaks of 30, 57 and 81 to complete his victory run.

Clearly delighted to have captured his second ranking title, and a very important one, if I may say so, Stuart Bingham was handed the glassy trophy and a cheque of £85,000 after a ceremony that took ages to start (rumours say that the dinosaurs returned).

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