Yesterday in Preston we had the last of the quarter-finals and the first of the semi-finals.
Neil Robertson beat Judd Trump by 6-4 in the first semi-final and he will be waiting for the winner of the second semi-final – Mark Allen v Ronnie – that is played tonight.
Robertson will face Ronnie O’Sullivan or Mark Allen over 19 frames in Preston on Sunday, with the winner to take the £125,000 top prize. Australia’s 37-year-old Robertson has already won the Riga Masters and Welsh Open this season and is aiming to win three ranking titles in a single campaign for the first time in his career.
Trump captured the Coral World Grand Prix crown last month and had been targeting the Coral Slam. Victory this week and at the Coral Tour Championship would have seen his total prize money for the series rounded up to £500,000. Bristol’s Trump has been arguably the player of the season so far, but tonight he let his grasp slip on the match after a strong start.
Breaks of 62 and 100 gave him the first two frames. Robertson pulled one back with a run of 71 but Trump dominated frame four with 47 and 48 to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Robertson’s fight back started with a superb 140 total clearance, the new front-runner for the £5,000 high break prize. In frame six, Trump had a chance to clear from 54-0 down, but after fluking the final yellow and potting the green, he missed the brown with the rest on 44. Robertson took advantage to make it 3-3 , then won the seventh on the colours and made a 68 in the next to lead 5-3.
Trump pulled one back but his hopes were quashed in frame ten when Robertson potted a thumping long red to initiate a match-winning run of 59.
“At 3-1 down I had to keep my composure and keep cool under pressure,” said world number eight Robertson. “Judd looked in great touch and not much was going right for me. I had to keep believing in myself and show him I was up for the fight. He started to miss a few balls which he hadn’t done before the interval. Snooker is all about taking advantage of your opportunities.
“I won’t watch the other semi-final tomorrow, when I get a day off I prefer to chill out and forget about snooker. I’ll relax, do a bit of practice and get ready for the final.
“This will be my fourth ranking event final of the season so it has been a fantastic season whatever happens. It’s just so nice to have my game back so I can compete for all the big events and players are having to play really well to beat me which has not been the case in the last couple of years. I am really proud of the way I have turned things around.”
Tonight’s result means that eight of the 13 matches so far this week have finished with a 6-4 scoreline.
This match was again an illustration of the reasons why I’m not overawed by Judd Trump like so many seem to be. Is he THE player of the season? I don’t think so. He is one of the players of the season, along with Mark Allen who tops the one year list, Neil Robertson who like Judd has won two rankers this season, plus another final, and Ronnie who despite playing a “reduced calendar” has already won three titles, including the UK championship, and made it to two other finals. When he is in full flow, Judd looks unstoppable, but, as this match has shown once again, put him under pressure and doubts start to creep in, accuracy suffers, and he’s there for the taking. If Jack Lisowski had a better temperament, Judd wouldn’t even have been in this semi-final at all.
Here is Neal Foulds preview of the second semi final: