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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Murphy set to push O'Sullivan all the way in final

Rocket may be made to work for sixth UK title

Shaun Murphy is unlikely to go down easily in York
1 of 1

Betway UK Championship final
S Murphy v R O'Sullivan
Live on BBC2 from 1pm Sunday

Shaun Murphy got the better of Ronnie O’Sullivan in last month’s Champion of Champions event but the Magician could struggle to repeat the trick when the explosive pair do battle in the Betway UK Championship final.

Over the years, Murphy has struggled to contain O’Sullivan over a longer format but his 10-8 triumph in Coventry showed that he has it in him to match the Rocket over a distance when the stakes are high.

However, this is the first time the pair have met in a Triple Crown final and if O’Sullivan plays anywhere near his best he could blow away Murphy.

O'Sullivan is bidding to equal Steve Davis' record of six UK titles and victory over his old foe would also see him equal Stephen Hendry's 18 Triple Crown triumphs.

That incentive should spur on the 42-year-old and he will be keen to make amends for last year's final defeat against a determined Mark Selby.

O’Sullivan, advised by Racing Post Sport’s Adrian Humphries at 4-1 prior to the event, is understandably a warm order but it may be wise for punters to back Murphy to keep the contest closer than prices suggest.

The Magician was close to his fluent best in his 6-3 semi-final triumph over Day - he mustered two centuries and further breaks of 89 and 73 - and his performances have been getting better as the tournament has progressed.

O'Sullivan still has it in him to deliver faultless snooker but he has had to battle for form this year and the manner of his 6-5 victory over up-and-coming youngster Sunny Akani in the last 16 suggests he is yet to hit the heights of 12 months ago.

O'Sullivan is the likeliest winner but that is factored into his price and Murphy has the scoring power to make a fight of it.

Over 16.5 frames
2pts Evs Hills

Already advised by Adrian Humphries
R O’Sullivan
2pts 4-1 Betfair

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The Magician was close to his fluent best in his 6-3 semi-final triumph over Day
E.W. Terms
Sky bet