Murphy has quite simply been in superb form all tournament and unlike in previous years where he flattered to deceive early in tournaments only to fall away,here if anything, he seems to be only getting better as the matches go by.
After all that had happened the night before,the first session yesterday afternoon was always going to be difficult for Hawkins and he looked visibly tired as play commenced. Murphy on the other hand,looking resplendent in his colourful trousers & waistcoat,was not in the humour to be letting him ease his way into the match,pouncing on every mistake to take an early 6-2 lead.
The hope this morning for Hawkins then was that,after a good nights sleep,he could work his way back into this one by winning the session.Those hopes were to disappear pretty quickly though,as Murphy produced yet another morning of flawless snooker to firstly take the opening four frames to extend his lead to 10-3 then, three of the next four to leave the possibility of finishing a session early very much on the cards at 13-3.
Into tonight then and Murphy took the opening frame to extend his lead to 14-3,but Hawkins,willed on by the Crucible crowd,finally got some form going to take four in a row & make it 14-7.He couldn't quite maintain it though as Murphy found his groove again with runs of 90 & 106.
He was now just one away from his spot in the final,but Hawkins to his great credit took the last of the night to force an afternoon session tomorrow.The score 16-8.
If that semi final is all over bar the shouting,that certainly could not be said of the other one with all very much still to play for tomorrow with Stuart Bingham leading Judd Trump.9-7.
Following Binghams surprise victory over Ronnie in the previous round Trump was installed as a warm favourite to claim the title here,but perhaps in yesterdays first session he too was adjusting to the fact he wasn't facing Ronnie as Bingham opened up a 5-3 lead.
Its a funny thing sometimes in these long matches that once a player gets a lead it can be difficult to get it back.So it proved today,although for most of the afternoon it was Trump working to keep it a two rather than threatening to close the gap As it were the eight frames were shared leaving us with a fascinating mornings snooker to look forward to tomorrow.