Hello everyone, Lee Jackson here reporting to you from the Venue Cymru in Llandudno ahead of the 2021 BetVictor Scottish Open Second Round. Today’s clash consists of two-time semi-finalist, Li Hang and Triple Crown winner and last year’s World Championship runner up, ‘The Magician’, Shaun Murphy.
A difference in careers between the pair with Li Hang who is yet to obtain a ranking title in his career regaining his professional status in 2013 after being off the tour for three years. On the other hand, Murphy has established himself as one of the great players in the game renowned for his impeccable cue action and fearless nature demonstrating those qualities to a tee in last year’s World Championship.
Li Hang will see this as a good opportunity to get a ranking event under his belt after pipping Judd Trump in last year’s quarter-final but falling to Ronnie O’Sullivan in the semis. He gave a great account of himself last year and will be hoping that he can push on from that and claim the title. The 31-year-old has 101 century breaks to his name so far in his career and a few more in this tournament will put him in good shape to challenge for glory.
Murphy will be looking to claim his first Scottish Open title aiming to add to his Welsh Open title in 2020. ‘The Magician’ reached the final in 2018 but suffered a 9-7 defeat to Mark Allen. A hard one to take for Murphy as he got past formidable opponents in Trump, Kyren Wilson and Joe Perry falling at the final hurdle. Getting a landmark 10th ranking event title will be on his mind and he’ll hope that he can add to the 68 frames he’s already won this season.
They’ve only met once in their careers with Murphy coming out on top in the 2011 China Open winning 5-4. A close match and both players will be looking to impose their style on this match and overpower their opponent. Murphy will hope to have a more solid performance after a shaky start against female snooker sensation Ng On Yee narrowly getting past here 4-3.
It’s time for Li Hang to take on Murphy with a possible upset on the cards due to the close call Murphy had in his previous match against Ng On Yee. It all depends on what Murphy turns up this afternoon as he has lacked some confidence this season, he needs to try and regain the form of his 2021 World Championship campaign.
Li Hang (1) 0 – 0 (14) Murphy – Li Hang breaks off but leaves an early opportunity for Murphy at a long red to the bottom right pocket. He thrashes it home with authority following up with a blue to the yellow pocket. A stray red poking out from the pack disappears into the bottom left pocket and he lands plum on the black but soon after losing position meaning back to baulk.
Li Hang (1) 0 – 0 (52) Murphy – A safety shot from Li Hang leaves Murphy with a tough cut on a red to the right middle which he makes but misses a challenging brown which clips the jaws. More table time for Murphy as he pots a sequence of red followed by black balls consecutively but the best of the bunch being a blind pot on a red to the left middle at the bottom of the pack. Such a tough pot to make but he’s waved his wand and pulled that out of the hat.
Li Hang (1) 0 – 0 (81) Murphy – Murphy playing simple snooker here with great emphasis on control of the cue ball landing only inches away from every pot. He is looking ominous here in these early stages. He continues to pot and pulls off a cracking pack split furthering his lead but missing the pink with the rest. That doesn’t matter though as he takes the lead in this match.
🎱 Li Hang 0 – 1 Murphy
Li Hang (0) 0 – 1 (6) Murphy – An opening safety exchange between the pair here with taps on the table from both players in appreciation. Li Hang has Murphy hampered by the pack but ‘The Magician’ doesn’t shy away from it and goes for the mid-distance red but misses and the safety battle continues. Murphy’s ability with the rest is unmatched as he plays a delicate safety to leave the cue ball in behind the brown and yellow with Li Hang in trouble. Murphy gets a chance at a red to the bottom right but opts for safety but completely misses his initial target and comes off the cushion to leave a chance for Li Hang.
Li Hang (69) 0 – 1 (0) Murphy – Li Hang is starting to take control with a fantastic split of the pack from the blue with the reds spreading nicely. The black spot is occupied by a red meaning the black is placed onto the pink spot which bodes well for him as he is occupying that area well. Midway through his break, he requests a clean of the white after a kick on a red to the bottom right which meant the white finished awkwardly on the cushion. He gets back to the table quickly and goes about combining reds with blacks.
Li Hang (120) 0 – 1 (0) Murphy – He methodically dispatches the balls as they fly into the pockets with precision. Going one down has given Li Hang a boost as the break of 87 is all he can manage but takes the frame nonetheless.
🎱 Li Hang 1 – 1 Murphy
Li Hang (0) 1 – 1 (49) Murphy – Li Hang has a half chance and goes right for it. A stray red from the pack to the right middle drifts slowly towards the pocket but isn’t accurate enough as it comes off of the jaw. Murphy sees the table this time and immediately pots a red into the left middle and from the pink performs a two cushion pack split which frees up a few reds.
Li Hang (0) 1 – 1 (73) Murphy – Another pack split is required and Murphy happily obliges as he screws back from the black and carves through the cluster. Red-black-red-pink combinations as he gets back on top but misses a relatively easy red to the bottom right. It’s snookers required for Li Hang as he tries for a long red, doesn’t make it and concedes the frame.
🎱 Li Hang 1 – 2 Murphy
Li Hang (55) 1 – 2 (0) Murphy – Li Hang has the cluster of reds at his disposal here and a safety exchange edged them apart. Strategic red after black combinations but eventually running out of position slightly making an awkward shot on the black. Immaculate cueing from the 31-year-old as it falls plum into the bottom right pocket.
Li Hang (71) 1 – 2 (0) Murphy – Brimming with confidence once more as he fires in a long blue but doesn’t clock the trajectory of the spin on the cue ball meaning he lands awkwardly on the left cushion. No problem for Li Hang as he makes a difficult red to the bottom right and then goes about getting the pack split. A safety battle ensues and it’s a mistake by Li Hang and then immediately by Murphy. The Chinese talent doesn’t need another chance though as he fires in red to the left middle followed quickly by the blue to equalise.Embed from Getty Images
🎱 Li Hang 2 – 2 Murphy
Li Hang (0) 2 – 2 (36) Murphy – Straight off the break Murphy makes a nice long-range pot to give himself an early chance. ‘The Magician’ runs out of luck after he goes for a delicate nudge on the pack from the blue but nothing comes of it meaning the end of the break.
Li Hang (26) 2 – 2 (36) Murphy – Li Hang leaves Murphy in a predicament after a well thought out snooker in baulk. He opts for a four cushion escape from behind the brown but fouls on the black. Li Hang lets fly at a long red from baulk and gets a cannon to the bottom left with shot of the match so far.
Li Hang (96) 2 – 2 (36) Murphy – Well constructed break of 46 and counting as Li Hang looks to take the lead for the first time this afternoon. A delightful cannon on the last red deserves a better destination as a snooker is all he can do. Right in behind the brown, the white is tight and Murphy misses leaving a chance for Li Hang who in turn clears the table and takes the lead.
🎱 Li Hang 3 – 2 Murphy
Li Hang (0) 3 – 2 (16) Murphy – An opening safety battle but Li Hang is in trouble as he is nestled right up against the brown. A four cushion escape is what Li Hang conjures up but he struggles to find the power to make the shot eventually doing so after the 4th attempt.
Li Hang (29) 3 – 2 (16) Murphy – Murphy’s turn to foul as ends up in behind the green. A well-performed escape off of two cushions leaves Li Hang with nothing easy. Murphy continues to struggle since 2-1 with his cueing after missing a long red which would be light work for him usually. A safety shot goes wrong after it clips the black on the way back to baulk but a bit of reprieve as the white ends up close to the left cushion. Li Hang slots a tough blue and lands nicely on a red.
Li Hang (89) 3 – 2 (17) Murphy – A cluster of four reds on the right cushion and three reds on the bottom cushion are problematic for Li Hang as he is within reaching distance of the match. He goes for the cannon but the ball surgically slides between two reds and rebounds close to the pink. He opts for safety as it’s the end of the break. Murphy makes an unforced error and Li Hang responds with a lovely cannon but there are still four tough remaining reds. An escape from Li Hang on a tough snooker and he goes on the offensive and pots his way to victory clearing the table all the way up to the black.
🎱 Li Hang 4 – 2 Murphy
Reflecting on the Match
The Magician was not at the show tonight as he struggled to get going after looking good in the first frame. The plaudits have to go to Li Hang with the way he kept clawing back Murphy and eventually stamping his authority on the match with some great positional play and escapes. He is through to the next round and faces Hossein Vafaei.