China Open 2011: Trump and Selby Through To Beijing Finale

So an excellent week of snooker will come down to a final contested between one of the tour’s form players in the shape of Mark Selby, and young Judd Trump who is through to his first career ranking event final. Should be a cracker…

Having struggled to build upon his early promise, some have been quick to criticise Judd Trump but as is evident from his quotes over at the World Snooker website following the match, the youngster is pleased to have proved the critics wrong today with his 6-1 victory against Shaun Murphy.

And well he might be as while he did not fire in any of his trademark big breaks, he again showed as he had done against Peter Ebdon in his previous match that his all-round game is now much improved in comparison to when he reached his last semi-final against John Higgins at the 2008 Grand Prix. Shaun Murphy was far from his best, in particular his famed long-game letting him down while he also lost a series of close frames early on, but credit to Judd for taking advantage of that.

As well as the coming of age of Judd, the other talking point from the match has to be the farcical amount of mobile phones going off from the crowd which made it difficult for either player to maintain concentration at some points. Furthermore there was also a bizarre moment during frame six when a curtain in the venue somehow began to flap around and let light into the arena, creating the appearance of a spotlight on the table which led to Judd missing his next shot. Shaun Murphy has since commented on the phone issue and you can read his thoughts here.

Still,  Judd will nevertheless be delighted with his day’s work and will now face Mark Selby in tomorrow’s final after the Jester from Leicester secured a 6-3 win against home hero Ding Junhui.

Early on there was a good pace to the match as Ding took the opener before Mark found his scoring boots to lead 3-1 at the interval. Last season’s finalist however was not finished and levelled the match with an excellent century to in effect leave us with a best of five.

The key frame though transpired to be the eighth as having edged ahead at 4-3, Mark looked to be moving 5-3 clear as he left his opponent leaving two snookers. Following a long battle for snookers however, Ding forced Mark to knock in the pink, not only leaving his opponent with enough points on the table to now win, but also leaving a free ball. With a shot on the green to the right-centre it eventually looked like Ding would clear to level the match but in another twist, he missed and Mark eventually wrapped it up.

From here there was only going to be one winner and Mark duly secured a 6-3 win to move into his second final in four ranking events. Indeed aside from the World Open and UK Championship he has reached at least the semi-final stage of each of the full ranking events so far this season.

Such a strong all-round player, capable of scoring as evidenced by his five centuries this week, as well as toughing it out in a safety battle, Mark has to go into the final as favourite but he is far from a certain winner with only one ranking title to his name at the moment. Having also defeated Mark in the final of the Championship League a couple of years ago, Judd knows how to beat Mark in a final which adds some extra spice to the occasion.

Should be a good one. I will pop up the live chat for the second session.