A fine week's snooker in Beijing has left us with four quality semi-finalists.

Mark Selby was yesterday superb. Positive, attacking and highly composed he produced one of his best performances of the season to beat Ali Carter 5-1.

Three centuries were testament to his heavy scoring. Now on 42 for the season, he is poised to join Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O'Sullivan as the only players to record 50 or more tons in a single campaign.

He's always been popular in China. I remember years ago after he played a match he spent a good hour or two in Cue Zone playing games of pool with some Chinese fans. That sort of thing goes a long way.

But, of course, his opponent will have most of the support. Ding Junhui, the champion in 2005, is through to the China Open semi-finals for a second successive year.

It was classy stuff from Shaun Murphy as he put John Higgins to the sword but despite those three top quality displays, the player who impressed me most was Judd Trump.

It was the big performance on the big stage we have been waiting for. He outplayed Peter Ebdon in all departments, including safety play, and took out the match with great poise.

Trump made an interesting admission in the week: that he had underestimated the quality of the players lower down the rankings when he first turned pro.

This was perfectly understandable. He was so used to winning as a junior that he must have felt he would carry on. All around him he was being talked up as the next big thing.

He's found the reality of life on the circuit different but has still done well - very well - for a player of his age.

Last season he earned just over £80,000. Not bad for a 21 year-old.

Some say "if you don't do it by 19, you won't do it at all."

It isn't true. Players mature at different rates. Ronnie O'Sullivan won his first ranking title at 17, Stephen Hendry at 18, John Higgins 19, Mark Williams 20, Shaun Murphy 22.

Age, though, is not the key but rather how quickly players learn the right way to play. Some take longer than others.

Trump has matured as a player and this suggests he can still make a breakthrough appropriate to his talent.


kimball said...

Steve davies said, you should wait
till the player turns 23, then you
might know some"

jamie brannon said...

I agree about the differing maturity rates, but not sure he is the real deal until he wins one of the big events, although tomorrow we may well see this happen.

Funnily enough even before this run I felt that he would cause an upset and beat Robertson at the Crucible, now it probably won't be considered a massive shock.

Plus if he does get through this opener then he is in the weaker half of the draw, a place in the semi-finals is a distinct possibility.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting to nate that in almost every Chinese tournament we have a random finalist - Walden, Wenbo, Burnett, now Trump. It seems China is a good place for journeymen.

Anonymous said...

walden and trump arent journeymen

either is wenbo

so, that makes your post not very accurate.

thought the title would have been the fantastic four, dave, to follow from yesterdays....


Hi David. Great performances today from both winners of the Semi-Finals. Cracking final in prospect. I can't wait.