SHAUN Murphy admits he can no longer ignore his semi-finals hoodoo after Mark Selby ruthlessly ended his Masters tilt with a 6-1 thumping at Alexandra Palace.
The Trafford-based 31-year-old was never in the last-four clash at Ally Pally in London, his one and only frame arriving at 5-0 down before Selby finished the job.
Ding Junhui and Marco Fu had fallen prey to Murphy earlier in the week – but the world no.8 yet again failed to deliver the goods in a semi-final.
He has now sunk to eight semi-final defeats in major tournaments since July 2011, having failed to win a single title in that time.
And Murphy is at a loss to explain why his luck keeps running out with the final in sight.
“I don’t really know what to say to be honest,” he said. “I’ve tried to steer away from thinking there may be something wrong getting to the semi-finals and not doing very well, but I’ve got no idea why it’s happening.
“I missed a couple of balls that I’ve not missed all week, and I’ve made a couple of mistakes that are my fault and that I haven’t made all week.
“It’s an absolute head-scratcher; I’ll go home and try to work it out.
“I’m really disappointed; it’s not what I came for and not what I prepared for. I was never really in it from the first-ball hit, I made a bad start with a bad break and it cost me the first frame.
“He played wonderfully from then on, I thought in the first session I had a couple of chances here and there but he completely froze me out of it. I don’t really feel like I’ve been involved. Now I’ve got to try and look forward.”
In stark contrast Selby, who is one of Murphy’s best friends on the tour, has made five of the past seven Masters finals.
And Murphy, nicknamed the Magician, is keen to start picking up Selby’s good habits on the big stage.
“I think you try and get into habits like everything in life, his habit when he comes to the Masters is winning it or getting to the final,” he added.
“That’s his comfort zone and mine isn’t, for a long time now. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve felt that feeling of victory and the longer it goes the harder it gets.
“What he said in the preview is right, whoever wins out of us two we then hope goes on to win the tournament. We are very good mates and whoever he plays, I hope he goes on and wins it.”
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