Young Brecel's not so pretty on the pink as Murphy ends Belgian's fairytale run
01:08 GMT, 7 December 2012
Shaun Murphy dodged a Belgian bullet as Luca Brecel ran into pink peril and bowed out in the quarter-finals of the williamhill.com UK Championship.
Seventeen-year-old Brecel was twice on the brink of a famous victory at just his second major tournament.
But the rising star missed crucial pinks in the 10th and 11th frames to allow Murphy to capitalise both times.
Eye on the ball: Shaun Murphy had to dig deep to get the better of Luca Brecel
The second steal clinched a 6-5 victory for the 2008 UK champion, setting up a semi-final tomorrow against Stuart Bingham's conqueror Ali Carter.
Murphy pointed to strong words at the interval from his manager Brandon Parker as a key factor in his victory.
'Brandon gave me a good talking-to at the interval that would have rivalled one of Sir Alex Ferguson's half-time talks, and it really knocked me into shape,' Murphy said.
'It's lucky there were no hairdryers in that dressing room. I think I'd have got one. Without Brandon's words I would have lost the match.'
He would have gone out anyway if Brecel had been able to put away his chances.
'I thought I'd lost the match a couple of times, I really did think I was out,' Murphy said. 'I think the adrenaline and maybe a little bit of inexperience cost him in the end. He over-hit and under-hit a couple of shots, and I'm just relieved.
Nerves of steel: 17-year-old Brecel has been the talk of the UK Championship
'The sense of relief and sense of pleasure is probably twice as much as if I'd won 6-0 with four maximum breaks.'
Murphy can see a future champion emerging, and pointed to shades of Stephen Hendry in Brecel's temperament.
'He's just not bothered. And as long as he can keep that, that's what the best champions in the game forever have all had in common,' Murphy said.
'When everyone else is under pressure and feeling it, they just waltz through it like it's a walk in the park. Hendry never used to show any nerves at all and Luca looks like he's got the same attributes.
'He doesn't seem to show any nerves, he doesn't seem to feel any pressure just until the last minute, and it was lucky for me he did.'
Elsewhere at the Barbican, Mark Davis joined the semi-final line-up as the most successful season of his 21 years as a snooker professional reached a new high.
The 40-year-old Hastings man reached his third ranking event semi-final of the campaign with a 6-4 victory over the 2003 UK champion Matthew Stevens.
Into the last four: Davis
Davis had never made it so far in one of snooker's majors before this term, but he began his run of success at the Wuxi Classic in June, followed it up with another semi-final showing at the Australian Open in July and now has a final in his sights in York.
He fired breaks of 101, 80 and 70 in seeing off Welshman Stevens, earning himself a shot at Mark Selby, who fought back from 4-0 down to beat Neil Robertson 6-4.
The key frame was the 49-minute ninth, which after an intense battle Selby took, and when Robertson left him a cheap opening red early in the next frame the Leicester man made a match-winning 101 break.
Selby punched the air in celebration after potting the red that made victory safe, tying up victory at 12.05am.
Selby, 29, will go back to No 1 in the world should he beat Davis to reach the final, having relinquished top spot to Judd Trump in November.
Selby said: 'It's a special win. The way I finished off was pleasing but at the start of the match I was terrible, pathetic, and I deserved to be 4-0 down.
'Until 4-3 I didn't really start playing the way I'm capable of playing. I finished off well and it's surprising to come out on top.'