Ding Junhui and Judd Trump would appear to be on a collision course in what would doubtless be a terrific BetVictor Welsh Open final but their respective opponents in today’s semi-finals are also big tournament winners with plenty to say about this weekend’s outcome.
Trump’s 17-15 win over Ding in the 2011 World Championship semi-finals was an engrossing, high quality affair. Few would complain about more of the same.
They each yesterday dominated their opponents early on. Trump hit Pankaj Advani hard and heavy to lead 4-0. He missed a red to the right centre on 59 a couple of balls from making it 5-0 and Advani creditably recovered to trail only 4-2.
Trump, though, was overall playing his best snooker of the tournament and duly completed the 5-2 win.
Ding’s 5-1 defeat of Robert Milkins was similar. He went 4-0 up before the interval dulled his focus. Milkins made a century to avert the whitewash before Ding’s good clearance to ensure his title defence continues.
The Chinese now faces Stuart Bingham, whose record against him is strong. Bingham came through yesterday 5-3 over Ken Doherty, who seemed to grow edgier as their match went on.
Trump is up against Stephen Maguire, a tough-as-old-boots battler who needed to be last night against Alan McManus.
This was an absorbing contest. Maguire had little luck, with in-offs and all sorts affecting him but McManus ultimately missed a yellow with a chance for 4-4 and Maguire cleared to reach the Welsh Open semi-finals for the third time in five years.
So Newport’s stage is set for the last four. Just one table and four players who have all won big titles.