Shaun Murphy kicked off his Masters campaign with an entertaining victory over Mark Williams as two former champions faced off.
The match was a high quality affair from the off, with Murphy flying out of the blocks with a clearance of 93 to move ahead.
But Williams soon hit back, making a fine 108 to draw level. Murphy then moved into a 2-1 lead on the back of a break of 50, before hammering home his advantage in the fourth.
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Williams looked to be in a good position to draw level yet again thanks to a 54, but a miss on the black - his first of the match - let Murphy back for the table. In the end, there was a lengthy battle for the pink, which the Englishman won via a fluke before putting away the black in style to steal the frame 61-55.
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Re-emerging from the interval with a 3-1 advantage, Murphy made a brisk 25 and looked in good touch until he missed a red to the centre pocket. The Welshman took full advantage, registering his second ton, again 108, to stay in touching distance.
The sixth followed a similar pattern. Again, Murphy made a bright start with a break of 32, but another miss on the red allowed Williams to clear up to the pink and draw level.
Murphy re-established his lead in an attritional seventh, and though Williams fought back once more in the eight, a costly error on a red to the middle pocket let the 015 champion back in to make 81.
The 10th was hugely tense. A break of 52 looked to have won it for Williams, but Murphy held his nerve when given an opportunity to clear the table and set up a quarter-final clash with Stuart Bingham.
Murphy flukes pink and then hits sensational black to win fourh frame
He said in the Eurosport studio after the match: "[My nerve] has always been a strength of mine to be honest.
"It's layered up with hour after hour of working with Chris Henry on the mental side of it, so that when things do start to go wrong, those demons in your mind that are always there, you've got to be able to shout them down."
On his stroke of luck for the pink in the fourth, he added: "I played to knock the pink up and down towards the black but I got it completely wrong. [The black] was even harder to play a safety shot, so I might as well go for it. I've just potted one like it. I was a bit embarrassed, really... The pink was a complete mistake but I mean the black."
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