Quick exit: Shaun Murphy crashes out of Masters in his opening game against Mark Allen
Defending champion from England loses at the first hurdle at London’s Alexandra Palace; defends playing a shot three times
Defending champion Shaun Murphy crashed out of the Masters at the first hurdle after losing to Mark Allen in his opening match at London’s Alexandra Palace on Sunday.
Englishman Murphy, who defeated Neil Robertson in last year’s final, came back from 5-2 down to 5-4, but Northern Ireland’s Allen secured the 10th frame to complete a scrappy 6-4 victory.
He will face either Barry Hawkins or Joe Perry in the quarter-finals.
“Shaun is the defending champion here, under a lot of pressure, and it was a big match for me, playing him on the big stage,” said Allen.
“I'm very happy with the way I played. I scored heavily, took my chances well and got over the line in the end.”
Allen took control by winning the third frame with a break of 137 and made it 4-2 when Murphy forfeited the frame following three misses.
Another century of 104 allowed Allen to swell his lead to 5-2 and although Murphy responded with a break of 100 in the ninth frame, he could not complete his comeback.
Afterwards, Murphy defended his decision to attempt the same shot for a third time in the sixth frame, despite the fact the three misses meant that he automatically lost the frame.
“It's the rule,” he told the World Snooker website. “You don’t see it very often. Normally you would look for an alternative on the third go. I couldn’t see a Plan B.
“All other options left him a guaranteed chance so I had to man up, take a deep breath and play the right shot. Unfortunately I got it completely wrong.
“Did I lose the match because of it? No, I don’t think so. There were plenty of other frames.
“I thought it was a really good match played in very good spirit. That match could have been the final of any tournament. Unfortunately for me it was the first round and I'm on my way home.”