Mark Allen hailed his “real good bottle” after withstanding a record-equalling century haul from Shaun Murphy to edge a topsy-turvy quarter-final at the Coral Tour Championship.
Allen was comprehensively outscored by his opponent in Milton Keynes but dug in to wrap up a 9-8 success in a final-frame decider and set up a semi-final meeting with Mark Selby.
Former world champion Murphy produced runs of 110, 117, 116, 100, 131 and 100 to become only the second player to hit six tons in a best-of-17 match after Stephen Maguire achieved the same feat during his last-eight win over Neil Robertson on Saturday.
"Is it possible to score six centuries and lose a snooker match?" 🤔
— World Snooker Tour (@WeAreWST) June 23, 2020
Northern Irishman Allen was not surprised by Murphy’s impressive scoring and delighted with his own response.
“I just kept leaving him chance after chance at those long reds and it’s not too often Shaun misses those long ones and he was in a rich vein of form when it comes to scoring,” said 34-year-old Allen.
“I just had to stay really, really patient in my seat and wait on chances and hopefully find a bit of form and I found it at the right time towards the end of the match.
“If Shaun’s out there making centuries, you think you could do the same thing.
— stephen hendry (@SHendry775) June 23, 2020
“I’m one of the top players in the world. You are going to have to deal with setbacks throughout matches and throughout your career, so I think I’ve done that pretty well the whole way through my career.
“I wasn’t down on myself. I was a little frustrated at times when I wasn’t playing my best stuff. But I hung in and hung in and stayed patient and showed real good bottle at the end.”
In terms of frames, there was little to separate the pair throughout the contest and they shared the opening eight during the afternoon session.
Big-scoring Murphy twice secured a two-frame advantage in the evening but paid a hefty price for missing some more straightforward pots as former Masters champion Allen, whose highest break was 100, battled back to win the final two and progress.
Great match that, I know it gets said a lot but there really didn’t deserve to be a loser. #TourChampionship
— Joe Perry (@joegentlemanjoe) June 23, 2020
Asked about the overall points difference between the players, Allen replied: “I don’t want to look at that stat, to be honest. The only one I’m worried about is the nine frames in my column.
“That’s just what Shaun can do. He’s a class act, a triple crown winner and I expect him to play to that standard on occasion.
“The table today was absolutely beautiful and it suits Shaun down to the ground, he was able to float the ball around like he does, long potting was going in nicely and he scored really well.
“But it shows I’ve done a lot right today myself to come through that match.”