Shaun Murphy and Ali Carter meet in Sunday’s Players Championship final (Picture: Getty Images)
The bookmakers have installed Shaun Murphy as favourites for the Players Championship final on Sunday, but he insists it is Ali Carter who is the likeliest winner.
Murphy has been in impressive form for a while now, reaching the final of the Welsh Open just last week and powering through to the showpiece in Wolverhampton just a few days later.
The 40-year-old beat Mark Selby in round one and Kyren Wilson in the semis, but it was his 6-0 battering of Rayan Day in the quarter-finals that really caught the eye, as the Magician knocked in four centuries and an 85.
Carter has also been playing really well, lifting the German Masters trophy earlier this month and Murphy reckons that triumph in Berlin makes the Captain favourite on Sunday.
The Magician was expected to beat Robert Milkins in the final in Wales last week and came up short, he is looking to take the pressure off this time around and take the role of underdog against Carter as they scrap for the £125,000 top prize.
‘I was favourite to win the final last week against Rob and to be honest I’m probably not the favourite going into tomorrow,’ Murphy told ITV after beating Wilson on Saturday night.
‘He’s just won the German Masters a couple of weeks ago, he’s in fine form. I haven’t won for ages and he’s just won one of the biggest tournaments of the season.
Ali Carter is looking for his second ranking title of the month (Picture: Getty Images)
‘He’s riding a crest of a wave, no pressure, no worries and I think he goes in as favourite, it’s my job to try and keep up with him.’
This is not to say that Murphy doesn’t realise how well he’s playing, saying: ‘It’s going to take someone to play really well to stop me.
‘I’m by far and away a better player now than I was when I got to the World [Championship] final a few seasons ago.’
Carter is certainly going into the final in a great position after winning in Germany recently, but that does not mean he is any less motivated to pick up more silverware.
‘It is all about winning,’ said the Captain after beating Joe O’Connor in the semi-finals on Friday. ‘I’m in another final which is great, but I want to be a tournament winner. I don’t want to be a finalist.
‘This is a massive tournament and it would arguably be the biggest event I’ve won. I have a day off to chill and recuperate, happy days.’
It is a clash of styles, with Murphy likely to be in all-out-attack mode, while Carter will be less aggressive and the ITV pundits are split on which brand of snooker will prevail.
Stephen Hendry said: ‘I think Shaun’s just playing too good, at the moment, He’s scoring too heavily.’
Whereas Alan McManus wasn’t quite on the same page, adding: ‘I kind of don’t agree with Stephen on this one. I think the recent Carter win in the German Masters will stand him in good stead.
‘Finals are a separate life form, a completely different entity from normal matches and I think Ali will take good vibes into this one. I slightly fancy Carter.’
Meanwhile it was a brutally honest assessment of his own game from Kyren Wilson after the 6-3 loss to Murphy on Saturday.
‘I had loads of chances, I was crap, absolute crap,’ said the Warrior.
‘I don’t care about semi-finals, they don’t really bother me at all, I’m here to win the tournament and if I don’t it’s a failure.’
The final is played over a best of 19 at 1pm and 7pm on Sunday.
MORE : Ali Carter comes through Judd Trump torture and plots Rob Milkins revenge at Players Championship
MORE : Daniel Wells loving snooker again despite ‘humiliating’ Ronnie O’Sullivan comments and off-table trauma
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
‘I haven’t won for ages and he’s just won one of the biggest tournaments of the season.’