|Venue: Crucible Theatre, Sheffield Dates: 16 April-2 May|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with uninterrupted coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app|
Judd Trump held off a remarkable fightback from Mark Williams as he won a final-frame decider to reach his third World Championship final.
Trailing 12-5 on Friday, three-time champion Williams reeled off 11 of the next 14 frames to lead 16-15.
However, Trump, who took the crown in 2019 won a tense 32nd frame before sealing his victory.
Six-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan leads John Higgins 15-9 going into the last session of their semi-final.
Williams had been playing catch-up since a dismal opening session saw him fall 7-1 behind.
But an exhilarating display of potting brought him back into the contest against the 2019 winner, as he concluded on Friday evening just two frames behind at 13-11.
And that shift of momentum was evident as play resumed on Saturday. While Trump took the opener with a composed break of 64, the Englishman snookered himself on the yellow in the next allowing Williams to get his first frame of the day on the board.
A superb swerve shot and run of 59 saw Williams reduce the deficit to one frame before levelling the match with a wonderful 137 to roars of approval from the packed auditorium.
The players then traded frames as Williams made it 15-15 with his 16th century of the Championship, a 138, equalling Stephen Hendry’s 20-year record for the number of tons made by a player in a single year at the Crucible.
When Williams won a tense tactical exchange on the blue he edged ahead for the first time in the contest and appeared to be set to record the second biggest turnaround in Crucible history after Dennis Taylor’s famous revival from 8-0 down to win the 1985 final against Steve Davis.
To his credit, Trump exhibited all of the the talent and resilience that has carried him to 23 ranking titles and helped him win all three ‘Triple Crown’ events to brush off several missed opportunities as he took the penultimate frame.
A nerve-shredding finale, saw Williams fluke a red after being snookered but miss a tough blue, with Trump stepping in to make 49 before missing a routine red with the rest.
But when Williams broke down on 25 points, Trump potted two astonishing cross doubles and another difficult red to leave the 47-year-old needing three-four point snookers – a feat even he could not accomplish.
O’Sullivan remains on course
In the other last-four match, O’Sullivan went through the gears to move within two frames of his eighth final as he chases Hendry’s record of seven titles in the modern era.
Trailing 10-6, four-time winner Higgins won the first frame of the day but was unable to apply any serious pressure on the world number one despite registering his first century of the match.
O’Sullivan played with greater rhythm and poise, compiling breaks of 82, 101, 121 and a superb 134 to extend his lead.
Play in their semi-final match resumes at 19:00 BST.
It was another brilliant performance from O’Sullivan, who has compiled a dozen centuries at this year’s tournament although he was aided considerably by a below-par Higgins.
The four-time winner, who has laboured throughout the match, briefly found his touch with a wonderful run of 103 to eclipse his previous highest break in the match of 58.
But the Scot exhibited his frustration by slamming his cue into the floor after missing a long red in the 22nd frame. The miss came after he had failed with a relatively easy red to the right middle in the previous frame, gifting it to an on-song O’Sullivan, who made the 100th century of this year’s tournament.
The ‘Rocket’ rarely looked like missing once among the balls and provided a precursor of what was to follow by exhibiting exemplary cue-ball control when winning his first frame of the day – the pattern continuing as he pressed home his superiority throughout the session.
Sign up to My Sport to follow snooker news on the BBC app.
Be First to Comment