Murphy looking for extra gear as he reaches Masters semi-final

Shaun Murphy won the Masters in 2015
Shaun Murphy won the Masters in 2015

Shaun Murphy needed to check his expectations as he came through a gritty Masters quarter-final to beat Joe Perry 6-3.

The 37-year-old rode his luck at times to go in 3-1 up at the mid-session interval, doing just enough to keep Perry at arms length throughout.

And the 2015 champion says that he was forced to eschew any pretences of free-flowing snooker mid-way through the match, with simply getting to the semi-finals at Alexandra Palace the most important thing.

“It was job done,” he said.

“I very nearly slipped into the habit and mistake of being worried about winning a certain way. That’s a lesson learned going forward.

“It’s difficult, you feel that expectation, it’s a great opportunity - lots of the favourites have gone. It was a big match for me, the first time in that situation in five years.

“I was very excited this morning when I woke up - I remember being that kid who came to the Masters at the Wembley Conference Centre and I’m now living those dreams.

“I think that Joe was very unlucky a lot of times. When he split the pack and wasn't on a red that was more of a surprise.

“He was cursed with every split; he made cannons that went wrong; played safe and reds appeared over pockets; he was super unlucky.

“On another day he could well be sat here the winner, but I suppose I’m pleased to pick up his pieces.”

Despite both players struggling to assert their dominance on the table, Murphy did make his first century break of the tournament with an effort of 120.

And the Nottingham man believes that he showed another side to his game as he looks to go all the way, just like back in 2015.

“I’m a better player today than I was five years ago, a better technical player, better between the ears,” he continued.

“I think five years ago the only particular difference was on this particular week that I was scoring slightly heavier in one visit.

“I’ve only made the one century so far, although I’ve had a lot of 60s and 70s and 80s, and stolen some crucial frames, that I didn’t used to do so much five years ago; I’ve learnt a different side of the game.

“If I could just rediscover those one-visits, which I had before Christmas - perhaps I dumped them in the bin with all the wrapping - I’d fancy my chances.”

Watch the London Masters LIVE on Eurosport and Eurosport Player with analysis from Ronnie O'Sullivan, Jimmy White and Neal Foulds.