The 2021 Champion of Champions – The Semi-finals

Here are the semi-finals’ reports shared by WST

Judd Trump 6-0 Kyren Wilson

Sweet 16 For Terrific Trump

Judd Trump whitewashed Kyren Wilson 6-0 to reach the final of the Cazoo Champion of Champions and has won 16 consecutive frames at the tournament in Bolton.

Trump will face John Higgins or Yan Bingtao for the title on Sunday and victory would give the world number two his first silverware since he won the BetVictor Gibraltar Open in March.

The Bristol cueman won four straight frames in his opening match against David Lilley on Monday, then saw off Ryan Day 6-0 before repeating that scoreline tonight against Wilson. Breaks of 88, 82 and 88 helped him to an emphatic victory.

Trump is through to his third Champion of Champions final and is looking to lift the trophy for the first time having lost to Ronnie O’Sullivan in 2014 and Neil Robertson in 2019.

To do what I have done here has come a little bit by surprise,” said 32-year-old Trump. “I haven’t played my absolute best, but it’s been nice to get through comfortably. It’s been decent but not perfect. The other players have struggled a little bit. My safety has been good, and I’ve scored heavy. To beat someone like Kyren 6-0, you must be doing something right.

The first frame was quite nervy. It was important for me to get that one. The longer I could keep Kyren at bay and get further away, it got more difficult for him. He never really got settled into the game. It’s important to keep your foot on the gas from the early stage. There’s a bit of time between now and the final. A little bit of practice. This is such a big event. You cannot take any liberties.

John Higgins has been amazing and probably the player of this season so far. Yan Bingtao is improving all the time. I think it will be a close game between them.

This is a massive event and one of the biggest on the calendar. I’ve come close a couple of times but not managed to get it over the line. These are all the best players in the world. Hopefully, I can go out there and be the face of the competition next year.

I love it when the crowd gets involved. I think it’s important they play their part. It gets you up. It brings the nerves out before the games. The atmosphere was incredible, and I am sure it will be for the rest of the week.”

Judd Trump 6-0 Kyren Wilson

66-16, 88-0 (88), 61-18, 91-2 (82), 69-49, 88-38 (88)

Pics: Taka Wu/Matchroom Multi Sport

Judd Trump didn’t take liberties indeed, and his safety game was excellent from start to finish. It was however a disappointing performance by Kyren: he never really got into the match.

John Higgins 6-5 Yan Bingtao

Higgins Sets Up Trump Final

John Higgins won a marathon five-hour battle against Yan Bingtao by a 6-5 scoreline to reach the final of the Cazoo Champion of Champions in Bolton.

Higgins and Trump have contested two Crucible finals

Higgins got over the winning line with a superb break in the deciding frame at 12.15am to earn a meeting with Judd Trump in Sunday’s final, with first to ten frames to take home the trophy and £150,000 top prize. Higgins will be aiming to win the title for the second time and first since 2016.

It’s a third final within the space of five weeks for the Scot and he’ll hope to make it third time lucky, having lost 9-8 to Mark Allen at the BetVictor Northern Ireland Open and by the same scoreline against Neil Robertson at the BetVictor English Open.

China’s Yan led 3-1 at the interval with top breaks of 54 and 74 then Wishaw’s Higgins hit back to take three frames in a row with top runs of 89 and 70. Yan’s break of 70 made it 4-4 then the next two were shared to leave the score at 5-5.

Early in the decider, Higgins thumped in a long red, and that set up a match-winning break of 89. He was out of position on 68 but played a clever double on the sixth-last red to a centre pocket which made victory inevitable.

The final starts at 1pm.

The second semi-final was completely different: it was a hell of a battle. Yan showed outstanding tactical skills, a rarety at such a young age. John Higgins is a master tactician but his young opponent matched him in that department yesterday evening. I truly enjoyed it. It was a very long match and both players certainly spent a lot of mental energy out there.

John Higgins is in his third final in a row. Agonisingly he lost the previous two in a deciding frame. He will hope to win this one and will give it his all. But … he’s had to battle hard until the early hours today whilst Judd Trump had a short and comparatively easy semi-final, a spare day to rest and practice, and is 14 years younger than him. It will be very difficult.

Also, during one of his stunts, the MC tried to get the audience going whilst the big screen was showing a kind of dance and loud music was on. I don’t know about other people, but that’s big NO NO for me. Snooker doesn’t need to be turned into a circus, particularly at a prestigious event and forced fun is rarely funny anyway.



2 thoughts on “The 2021 Champion of Champions – The Semi-finals

  1. Yes very contrasting semi-finals! Many people complained about the slow pace of last night’s match, but then those same people often express fond memories of the 1980’s. Ultimately Yan forced Higgins into a very risky pot in the final frame, with no guarantee of colour. But Higgins made the shots and won the match.

    After the tough first half, both players were seen in the practice room during the interval. John Higgins was chatting with Ken Doherty, one of the commentators, who apparently advised him to speed up his pace. This demonstrates what the young players and foreign players are up against: the established players are all friendly with the organisers, officials, media, to an extent each other. Those outside the established group are very much outsiders, in addition to their lack of experience on the TV table. Yan’s done very well to be competitive against that scenario; nobody else has managed to break through. Perhaps his relative success will give them hope.

    Judd Trump starts as a big favourite of course.

    • The vast majority of the UK players are not friendly with organisers and officials. I’d say only the very top and the older players who, as youngsters, played with the likes of Doherty, Hendry, McManus etc. are in that case really.

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