Murphy will no doubt start a warm favourite to collect a second world title ten years after his first and his short price is well justified based on the serene progress he has made through the tournament to this point.
As often stated before,a year ago Murphy was at a crossroads in his career seemingly unable to find a way to convert runs to quarters & semis into titles,but this season he has been a different animal.Back is that confident stomp around the table you get from Murphy when his confidence is high and that coupled with a beautifully natural cue action have made him one of the games toughest competitors again.
In this tournament he has been immaculate around the table and to reach a final here only conceding 25 frames along the way is remarkable.
As I've said above he will start a short favourite to win today,but he is not someone who will be weighed down by this expectation.
In many ways it is astounding that Murphy might win the title here without having had to face Selby,Robertson,Ronnie or Trump,but of course the reason he's avoided the latter two is his opponent here Stuart Bingham.
When Bingham beat Ronnie,a lot of people ,myself included,saw it as more of Ronnie not been really up for this rather than Bingham playing well but following his remarkable 17-16 victory over Trump last night that opinion has had to reviewed.
Bingham of course is well used to been underrated,capable of playing well and producing an odd surprise result,but not someone who'd ever challenge for the games real big prizes.
Well that has all changed now,as not just his victory over Trump,but also the manner in which he stood up to the pressure in the final frame having seen his opponent level it at 16-16 form 16-14 with back to back centuries,have shown he has the stomach for the the fight.
So what of this match,well as we often see,even in these long matches,the first session is key.In three of his first four matches here Murphy has established a big lead early on and never looked back.If he can do that again here he may well be out of sight before Bingham knows whats happening.
Thats why I believe its vital for Bingham to put any tiredness he may feel to the back of his mind and get some frames on the board early. From that position he could build on it tonight and give himself a fighting chance tomorrow.
Dangerous as it has proven to write off Bingham here this week though,I do feel Murphy will win this and possibly a tad comfortably,but hey as anyone who has been reading this blog throughout the championship will know.I've been wrong before!!