The 2020 UK Championship – SFs – Day 13

There was no surprise yesterday as Neil Robertson and Judd Trump wnt through to the Final.

Here are the WST reports:

Neil Robertson 6-2 Zhou Yuelong

Thunder Storms Into Final

Neil Robertson revealed that he feels his game is better than ever as he reflected on an emphatic 6-2 win over Zhou Yuelong in the semi-finals of the Betway UK Championship.

That didn’t take Yue-Long. Robertson needed just 148 minutes to wrap up the match

World number three Robertson is into the final of this event for the third time, having lifted the trophy in 2013 and 2015. He will face Judd Trump or Lu Ning over 19 frames on Sunday with the winner to lift the trophy and bank £200,000. Victory would make Robertson the sixth player to win the UK Championship three times, joining Ronnie O’Sullivan (seven titles), Steve Davis (six), Stephen Hendry (five), John Higgins (three) and Ding Junhui (three).

It will be Robertson’s third final of the season, and while he lost to Trump in the English Open final and to Mark Allen at the Champion of Champions, his seemingly limitless self-belief will be undented as he aims for his first silverware since the World Grand Prix in February. He has made three centuries in each of his last two matches and looks at the top of his game.  The 38-year-old Australian is into his 31st ranking event final and is seeking his 19th title.

The result ends Zhou’s hopes of qualifying for the Masters as he needed to reach the final to jump into the top 16. Jack Lisowski is now safe in that race, while Thepchaiya Un-Nooh will earn a Masters debut if Lu Ning doesn’t win this week’s tournament.

Robertson got the better of a fragmented opening frame then made a 125 for 2-0. Zhou had first chance in frame three and made 46 before missing a red to a top corner, then Robertson replied with 62 before wobbling the final blue in the jaws of a baulk pocket. A safety tussle was resolved when Zhou escaped from a snooker on the blue and fluked it into a top corner. He added pink and black to get a frame on the board.

But Robertson wasn’t rattled and compiled a run of 118 for 3-1. In frame five, Robertson led 56-0 when he ran out position, but when Zhou went in-off playing safe on the penultimate red it was 4-1.

A break of 104 in frame six – his tenth century of the tournament and 753rd of his career – put Robertson 5-1 ahead. Zhou restored some respectability to the scoreline and showed his break-building talent with a excellent 141 total clearance. But that just delayed the inevitable as Robertson closed out victory in frame eight with an break of 89.

“My game is the best it has ever been,” said 2010 World Champion Robertson. “Last season I reached three finals in a row and I have carried that on. My club WTs in Cambridge as well as the Grove Academy have been brilliant in terms of allowing me to practise and keep my consistency. Plus there has been less travelling and jet lag this season so physically I feel fantastic.

“When I played Zhou in the final of the European Masters last season (Robertson won that match 9-0) I didn’t let him settle, and it was important for me to do the same today. Even when he fluked the blue to go 2-1 it jolted me into wanting to get back on top. I probably played better today than I did against Mark Selby yesterday.

“Everyone on the tour really rates Zhou and I’m sure he’ll be back in big finals before long. He has determination and he’s also a very friendly guy.”

Asked about the possibility of playing Trump tomorrow, Robertson added: “What Judd has done in the last couple of years is incredible, I have learned a lot from him, in terms of how hard he practises. He very rarely takes days off and works a lot harder than he did four or five years ago. Having lost two finals this season and I have plenty of motivation to get the job done this time.”

Zhou looked extremely tense at the start of the match. It’s only when he was 5-1 down, and all easonable hopes of winning the match were gone, that he seemed to relax; his 141 in frame seven was fantastic. I hope he can find some solace and confidence from it.

Judd Trmp 6-2 Lu Ning

Trump Ends Lu Run To Reach Final

Judd Trump set up a showpiece final with Neil Robertson at the Betway UK Championship with a commanding 6-2 defeat of Lu Ning.

World number 40 Lu had enjoyed an excellent run to the semi-finals, but he was no match for Trump as the world number one remained on course for winning his second UK title and first since 2011.

Trump last reached the UK Championship final in 2014, losing to Ronnie O’Sullivan

Trump will battle Robertson over a possible 19 frames in Milton Keynes on Sunday, with the winner to take the trophy and £200,000 top prize. It will be their 22nd career meeting, Trump winning 12 of the previous 21. Their last three matches have been finals; Robertson coming out on top at the 2019 Champion of Champions, then Trump taking the honours at this year’s German Masters and English Open.

Bristol’s 31-year-old Trump is through to his 30th ranking event final and looking for his 20th title. He already has two trophies to his name this season, from the English Open and Northern Ireland Open, so victory tomorrow would see him half way towards matching last season’s record haul of six ranking titles.

Tonight’s result means that the field is set for the Masters and the draw will take place during the interval of the afternoon session on Sunday. Lu could have jumped into the elite by winning the tournament but instead Thepchaiya Un-Nooh can breathe a sigh of relief as he keeps the 16th and last spot.

Lu, playing in the semi-finals of a ranking event for the second time in his career, could have won the opening frame tonight but missed the pink to a centre pocket on 51, letting Trump in to clear with 66. China’s 26-year-old Lu was not overawed by the occasion and dominated the second frame for 1-1.

A run of 107 saw Trump regain the lead, then in frame four he was on target for a 147 until he left the 13th black just short of a top corner pocket on 99.

Frame five came down to a safety battle on the colours and Lu converted superb pots on the blue and pink to keep himself in the match at 3-2. Trump won frame six with a run of 54 and took control of the next with a 55. Lu had a chance to counter but made just 7 before missing a tricky red to a top corner. That effectively ended his resistance as Trump mopped up the frame and cruised over the winning line in frame eight with a 113.

“Lu should have won the first frame tonight, after winning it I felt in control,” said Trump. “I made mistakes tonight and I’ll need to cut those out in the final.

“Every time I play Neil it is special. The Champion of Champions and English Open finals are two of the best ever. The table is playing beautifully and I’m sure there will be a lot of high scoring. Neil’s all round game looks very good so I’ll have to be at my best. The way we are both playing spurs the other players on so they don’t fall behind.”

Trump has won 15 consecutive matches over the past 26 days and admits fatigue is playing a part. “The past few games have been draining,” he said. “It is taking its toll. There is one last hurdle. It’s no good getting to a final and then losing, especially as I have waited for six years to get to the final of this event. To win it would top off an amazing few weeks. Since the start of the tournament the trophy has been by the table and that has made me feel to win it is what I’m here for.”

Part about the Masters deleted … I was wrong, the draw doesn’t go by strict seeding. I was misguided by last year draw, when it DID go by strict seeding but that was because that time Judd Trump the defending champion, the World number one and the World Champion. I had completely overlooked that. My bad

6 thoughts on “The 2020 UK Championship – SFs – Day 13

  1. Yes the two semi-finals went more or less exactly as everyone expected. Zhou and Lu weren’t able to produce their best form in such a big occasion, and took some time to get used to the main table. As we have come to expect, Robertson produced a highly polished performance, whilst Trump did what he needed to power through comfortably.

    John Higgins had praised Zhou Yuelong as ‘the best young Chinese player to take over from Ding’. Robertson echoed that in his post-match interview. Alan McManus and Steve Davis mentioned Zhao Xintong and Yuan Sijun in commentary, and also praised Lu Ning and Pang Junxu. No-one else was mentioned. The truth is, if the Chinese challenge is to be sustainable, it will take more than one player to carry the burden; there will need to be 2 or 3 players at least who can win tournaments. There is the potential for a setback if the tournament schedule in China doesn’t recover fully. Certainly Zhou has shown the best form so far this season, but of course all players have had different experiences during this year of lockdowns and quarantines.

    Anyway, today’s match is impossible to predict. Trump is slight favourite of course, but anything could happen as it’s likely to be close.

  2. Even if Robertson wins the UK Championship, Ronnie is the #2 seed for the Masters, as World Champion.

    • Well, you were right. I looked at last year draw and it went by seeding, but what I overlooked is that Trump was all at the same time the World number one, the World Champion and and the defending champion … My bad

      • No worries, appreciate the apology. I’ve visited your site for while, but never felt the need to comment, until that error.

        I always remember the World Champion is #2 at the Masters (if not defending champ), as at the 2006 Masters, 2005 World Champion Shaun Murphy was the #2 seed, despite a world ranking of #21.

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