Murphy survives scare, Mehta bows out

Former world champion, Shaun Murphy of UK survived a major scare in the first round (qualifying) against wild card entrant E. Pandurangaiah of India before clinching a thrilling 35-74, 68-17,57-31, 32-61, 66-17, 83-0 (66) win in the fourth Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament on Tuesday.

Shaun Murphy in action against wild card entrant E. Pandurangaiah of India in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday.   -  K. R. Deepak

Former world champion, Shaun Murphy of UK survived a major scare in the first round (qualifying) against wild card entrant E. Pandurangaiah of India before clinching a thrilling 35-74, 68-17,57-31, 32-61, 66-17, 83-0 (66) win in the fourth Indian Open world ranking snooker tournament on Tuesday.

By his own confession later, Shaun was visibly relieved at the end of the match as the Indian cueist managed to secure a few points, scoring from peculiar positions.

To his credit, Pandurangaiah never really gave the freedom to dominate for the more experienced and classy opponent. But what proved to be costly in the fifth frame was when the Indian No. 2 fouled by potting his cue ball with the score reading 17-27. And, like a champion, Shaun seized on the huge opportunity with an unfinished break of 39 to clinch it and then showed his class again in the sixth frame with another significant break of 66 to clinch the issue.

“I was not overawed this despite being my first international tournament. I actually enjoyed playing against the world champion. Yes, had problems in adjusting to the table of this standard which we are not normally used to playing,” Pandurangaiah said later. 

“Yes, the strategy was pretty simple for me. If there is no scope for potting, deny the scoring chances for the opponent. And, it is a huge learning experience for me,” he said.

For the host nation, it was a dismal first day as the five other wildcard entrants too lost their matches, clearly struggling to cope with the high quality tables.

Indian challenge effectively ended late in the evening when defending champion Anthony McGill defeated Aditya Mehta 76-6 (76), 70-4, 94-27 (65), 96-4 (94).

The results

First round: Graeme Dott (Sco) bt Jack Lisowski (UK) 71-62 (71), 92-6 (56), 83-21, 0-100 (99), 68-65 (61); Sean O’Sullivan (UK) bt Josh Boileau (Ire) 83-0 (83), 39-71, 9-69, 49-40,1-91(86), 61-48; Ricky Walden (UK) bt Alfie Burden (UK) 64-71, 42-76, 67-44, 0-67 (60), 107-0 (72), 61-40, 86-41 (78); Anthony McGill (Scot) bt Aditya Mehta (Ind) 76-6 (76), 70-4, 94-27 (65), 96-4 (94).

Qualifying

First round:  Shaun Murphy (UK) bt E. Pandurangaiah (Ind) 35-74, 68-17, 57-31, 32-61, 66-17, 83-0(66); Andrew Higginson (UK) vs Asutosh Padhy (Ind) 81-14, 81-7, 56-53, 102-9 (50); Li Hang (Chn) bt Srikrishna (Ind) 110-1 (86), 12-71, 67-23, 57-34, 83-29 (54); Alan McManus (Sco) bt Malkeet Singh (Ind) 88-20 (88), 67-51, 65-9, 72-38; Mark Davis (UK) bt Laxman Rawat (Ind) 72-30 (55),76-6 (60), 66-44, 79-16 (79); Sam Baird (UK) bt Lucky Vatnani (Ind) 65-70, 60-23, 64-15, 65-40, 56-67, 69-55.