Murphy denies match-fixing after loss to snooker rookie

Shaun Murphy was left stunned after being asked whether he deliberately lost his opening match at the BetVictor Welsh Open in Newport last night.

The Englishman was beaten 4-3 by Indian Pankaj Advani, the current world billiards champion who is playing on the main snooker tour for the first time this season.

Murphy received a Twitter message last night from a user whose account appeared to have been later deleted, saying: "Rumours going round you match fixed tonights game Shaun??? Any truth??"

Englishman Murphy, the 2005 world champion, was taken aback by the suggestion and replied: "Absolutely not-ouch."

He later added: "Worst day of my career today, being accused of losing on purpose."

Murphy, 30, was swiftly backed by fellow players, with Northern Ireland's Mark Allen writing on the social network: "Don't be silly mate. We all know its a pile if c**p!!! Never a more untrue word spoke. Chin up."

Last year's World Championship runner-up Ali Carter called Murphy "an asset to the game", and former world number three Neal Foulds added: "Nobody in snooker believes that of u. Its a 100% non-starter. Great match to watch. As the cliche goes, shame there was a loser."

Murphy had trailed 3-1 against Advani before fighting back to force a deciding frame. Once there, Advani opened up a commanding lead, and although Murphy played on needing snookers he could not find a way back.

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