THIS season’s Shanghai Masters final will see Judd Trump take on four-times world champion John Higgins in a repeat of the 2011 World Championship final.
Trump reached his fourth world ranking final after beating Mark Williams 6-4 in today’s first semi-final encounter.
The Bristol potter looked to be cruising to the grand final when he took a 5-1 lead to be within one frame of victory after hitting breaks of 62, 82, 76 and another 62.
But the Welshman refused to give in and a superb clearance of 66 kept Trump at bay at 5-2. The world-number two had a golden chance to close the match in the eighth frame when Williams missed a frame-ball blue and only had to clear up for the match.
However, while sinking in the blue the cueball then went in-off and Williams took full advantage to pull the contest back to 5-3.
The ninth frame saw Williams continue to pressurize his opponent when he put Trump in a difficult snooker behind the green which helped him make him favourite for the frame. The Welshman then won another safety battle to close the gap to within one frame at 5-4.
But to Trump’s relief he managed to close the match out in the tenth frame with a break of 58 after Williams missed a long red.
The day’s second semi-final saw Higgins, who has rediscovered his form in Shanghai this week, have the better of Shaun Murphy to reach his first final since winning the World Championship 16 months ago.
But it was the Englishman who made the brighter start winning the opening frame with two visits to the table.
Higgins soon levelled the match at 1-1 before taking the lead for the first time with a break of 66. Murphy then pounced on an uncharacteristic mistake made by Higgins as he fouled when trying to lay a snooker behind the yellow with one red left. A scrappy fifth frame saw the 2005 world champion take a 3-2 lead.
But that was Murphy’s last bit of joy in he tournament as Higgins continued his fine week winning the next three frames with breaks of 70, 94 and 135 – the tournament’s highest break – to take a 5-3 lead.
A break of 54 in the ninth frame helped the Scot book his place in the final where he will be aiming to add to his haul of 24 ranking titles.
Sunday’s final will be a race to ten frames with the winner lifting the winning trophy as well as gaining a maximum of 7,000 ranking points and collecting a cash prize of £75,000.