What a day for Judd Trump, the biggest of his young career.
He took the opportunity yesterday to hit back at those who had criticised him for not making faster progress.
Well, many people talk a good game but, unlike them, Trump plays one. He did so again yesterday in the semi-finals against Shaun Murphy, employing a mature approach and playing the percentages.
I’m pleased for Judd and his family, particularly his dad, Steve, who clocked up hundreds of miles on the motorways driving him to junior tournaments every weekend, toughening him up for competition.
Murphy was unhappy with all the cameras and phones going off. He’s right. It’s patronising to say that that’s the culture in China and the players should accept it. Spectators are specifically told – many times – to turn them off and should do so.
Mark Selby’s impressive fluency against Ali Carter only emerged in patches against Ding Junhui.
His semi-final victory took a long time to complete. Too long, in fact, for Ding who said afterwards that Selby’s slow play had done him in.
Actually, if a match goes scrappy or gets bogged down then it’s up to the player who doesn’t suit this style of play to force the pace or open things up.
So the China Open final is an intriguing battle between Selby, looking for his second ranking title, and Trump, seeking his first.
Both these players benefited from the commitment to the game of Malcolm Thorne, who ran all those junior events that gave them a chance to play and a chance to improve.
Malcolm died in January but he would be very proud to see these two lads going head-to-head in Beijing.