Robert Milkins faces biggest match of his life but Shaun Murphy intends to cost him dear

Shaun Murphy and Robert Milkins meet in the Welsh Open final on Sunday (Pictures: Getty)

There is more on the line for Robert Milkins than Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s Welsh Open final and the Magician intends to make it an extremely disappointing day for the Milkman.

A big ranking final would be huge in any context, but Milkins is one win away from winning the BetVictor Bonus, a £150,000 prize for topping an eight-tournament ranking list, with the £80,000 first prize in Wales coming on top of that.

A £230,000 pay day would be the most profitable of the 46-year-old’s career by a long distance and he is well aware of it.

‘It’s massive, the biggest game of my life. I don’t know how I’m going to cope,’ Milkins told the BBC after beating Tian Pengfei in the semis.

‘It would be enough just playing for the title, let alone everything that goes with it. I don’t know if I’ll be able to stand up, but I might rise to the occasion.’

Murphy cannot climb the rankings enough to win the bonus, with only Milkins and Ali Carter still in the running to claim it.

The Captain won the German Masters earlier this month and tops that particular ranking list, so he will be watching nervously at home, cheering on Murphy.

Milkins added on Eurosport: ‘I don’t know how I’m going to feel tomorrow, playing for the money as well, I won’t be able to stand up. It’s been in my head for a couple of days anyway.

‘I’ve come from nowhere really, I wasn’t in the running but Ali lost quite early in this.

‘I don’t know if it’s a good or a bad thing, it’s tough enough to try and win the final but now I’ve got that as well, it’s going to be difficult. But sometimes when you’ve got so much pressure on, you can play alright.’

Murphy may not have the £150,000 bonus on the line, but the title is what he is hunting down, a ranking event win which would be the first since 2020 in this same event.

He knows that there is even more pressure on Milkins, though, saying: ‘Robert’s obviously having the best year of his life, the current Gibraltar Open champion, into the final.

‘I saw his after-match comments sat in this chair earlier, I hope Rob doesn’t sleep a wink thinking about what’s on the line, so I hope he can’t sleep at all.

‘In all seriousness, there’s obviously a lot on the line for Robert Milkins tomorrow, and it’s my job to try and make that as difficult as I possibly can.’

2023 Betvictor Welsh Open - Day 3

Robert Milkins won his first ever ranking title last season at the Gibraltar Open (Picture: Getty Images)

Murphy came through a clash with Pang Junxu in the semis in which he struggled to find his best form, but he has already shown the best performance of the tournament so far, when he beat Daniel Wells in the last 16, making a 147 and 145 along the way.

‘I hope that both of us can put on a better performance than we did today, I don’t think either of us were that great,’ Murphy said of the finalists’ wins in the last four.

‘But I’m sure come the final, when they start giving the trophies out, both of us will bring our best and put on as good a show as we possibly.’

Murphy and Milkins play over a best of 17 on Sunday at 1pm and 7pm in Llandudno.

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