JUDD Trump and Ronnie O’Sullivan will battle it out on Sunday to be crowned this season’s Champion of Champions.
O’Sullivan is just one more win away from defending the crown he won last year after a superb finish today (Saturday) gave him a 6-4 win over Ding Junhui.
And despite not showing his best form on the night, Trump won a close-fought encounter against world number 2 Neil Robertson by the same score to book his place in Sunday’s showdown finale.
Trump and O’Sullivan will battle it out for the top prize of £100,000 and it will be the first time they have met since the 2013 World Championship semi-final which O’Sullivan won 17-11 en-route to his fifth world title.
After sharing the first two frames, Trump battled back from 63-0 to steal the third frame away from Robertson after a tremendous long red started an impressive comeback.
Trump, who earlier in the week beat Mark Selby to reach the semi-finals, then went 3-1 up at the mid-session interval.
After the break Robertson reduced his arrears punishing Trump’s miss on the black off its spot with a vital break of 53 but the Bristol star restored his two-frame lead when he came back from 54-30 behind to go 4-2 up.
But Robertson again reduced his deficit to a single frame when a missed green to the centre pocket denied Trump racing clear. Robertson capitalised with a break of 39 to trail 4-3.
And Robertson looked like he was going to level terms as the match headed into the business stage but a surprising missed pink to the middle was punished by Trump who made a run of 56 to go one away from victory.
The Australian, who lost to Trump in the Australian Open final earlier this season, refused to give in as a superb break of 117 kept his hopes alive.
And the match was still very much in the balance right at the death of a tense tenth frame which lasted for more than 35 minutes.
Leading 62-53, Robertson missed a frame ball blue which led to a fascinating tactical battle with just the final pink and black remaining. But Trump claimed the match when a superb long black found the baulk corner pocket.
Earlier in the day, O’Sullivan maintained on course to defend the Champion of Champions trophy as he held off a spirited fight back by Ding Junhui to reach his second consecutive final at the Ricoh Arena.
O’Sullivan took a 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval before Ding levelled it up with excellent breaks of 88 and 111 after the restart.
The five-times world champion fired back with a 105 – his first ton of the match – to regain the lead, only to see Ding level terms once again winning frame eight by 50 points.
But O’Sullivan, as he has done many times before, saved his best for the most crucial period as a fluent break of 91 handed him back the lead before a sublime 125 break got him past the winning line.
Sunday’s final is the best of 19 frames and will start at 1pm.