The last four matches at this year's World #Snooker Championship have offered up polar extremes so far. Shaun Murphy requires just one more frame this afternoon to beat Barry Hawkins in a one-sided affair. By contrast, the Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham semi-final remains interesting poised with just two frames separating the green baize maestros overnight. Both matches play to a finish today.

Murphy 16 - 8 Hawkins (overnight score)

Slow start by Hawkins

Hawkins has not been able to recover from a slow start to his match with the 2005 champion Murphy. Despite showing more of the break building and tenacity he demonstrated in beating Neil Robertson, he still remains well adrift on the scoreboard after yesterday's action.

Advertisements
Advertisements

The crowd have shown great admiration and even affection for Hawkins' efforts, but they anticipate the conclusion of the match sooner rather than later. The opening session had seen Murphy dominate proceedings to claim a 6-2 lead, which could have been even worse for Hawkins. The nightmare continued when they resumed their match. Murphy claimed seven of the eight frames and at 13-3 the result seemed a formality.

Hawkins come back

Yet at least Hawkins ensured that the match continued into the final session, even if he may have simply delayed the inevitable. His form yesterday evening was closer to how he vanquished the great Australian hope in the previous round at the Crucible. Winning the session 5-3 would have been gladly welcomed but for the massive deficit he was already facing.

Advertisements

After losing frame 17 to his opponent, the flow to the match seemed to be following a familiar pattern at 14-3 down. Hawkins for once took his opportunities to take the next four frames in a row though, maybe sensing that 'lady luck' was finally smiling on him. Not that he required too much luck, clinical breaks of 103, 104 and 73 saw to that.

The end is near

Murphy opted to raise his level once again, clearly seeking to finish the job off without recourse to another day's play. Commanding breaks of 90 and 106 looked certain to bring the 'fat lady' out to perform her warm up.

It was not quite the end though for Hawkins, as he forced a resumption today by taking the final frame of the night thanks to a well-crafted break of 76. He still faces an uphill struggle to put any real pressure on Murphy, as his rival will be looking for a speedy finish.