The semi finals were played over 2 days as they were best of 17, a format that used to be the trademark of the UK Championship.
I was expecting a very close semi final between Judd Trump and Ding Junhui, but it wasn’t to be. Judd didn’t play anywhere near the standard he had shown in the previous matches and he struggled to maintain a high level of concentration. Maybe it isn’t that surprising: Judd is young and fit, but he’s only human and he was aiming at a third final within less than a month. He has played an awful lot of snooker over the last four weeks and he was probably tired. His opponent, Ding Junhui, didn’t play in Romania and looked fresher and sharper: his performance was of outstanding quality.
The match between Mark Selby and Stuart Bingham was a bit strange. Stuart raced to a 2-0 lead, Mark responded and the score went to 3-3, with Stuart scoring two centuries and Mark one. I don’t think anybody expected the match to finish on 9-3 to Mark at that point. They reached the intermission at 5-3 and the feeling at that point was that there was vey little between them. But the second session was totally one way traffic, Stuart was struggling to make any telling break and Mark stepped up a couple of gears (at least!) and added two more centuries to his tally.
So tomorrow it will be the World n°1 against China’s n°1 and a rematch of the last World Championship final. It’s too close to call and I just hope both will be in good nick. If they are it will be an absolute cracker. The referee in charge will be Peggy Li. It’s her first final: congratulations and good luck, Peggy.