Judd Trump held a 12-5 World Snooker Championship semi-final lead over Mark Williams before the Welshman battled back to lead 16-15 in Sheffield but the Englishman claimed the final two frames to triumph 17-16; he will play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final after he beat John Higgins 17-11
Last Updated: 30/04/22 8:53pm
Judd Trump withstood a stirring fightback from Mark Williams to win a final-frame decider and reach the World Championship final for the third time.
Trump saw a 12-5 lead evaporate as the Welshman clawed his way back to lead 16-15 and threaten what would have been the greatest semi-final recovery in Crucible history.
But having gone behind for the first time, Trump hauled himself back level then produced two outrageous cross-doubles to nudge over the line in a tension-filled decider to seal a 17-16 win.
Trump will play Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final after he wrapped up a 17-11 victory over John Higgins in Saturday evening’s session.
Williams fightback repelled by Trump
Trump had taken the first frame of the final session with a cool clearance of 64 to temporarily blunt Williams’ momentum and re-establish his three frame advantage at 14-11.
He was then unlucky not to extend his advantage in the next after kicking the pink into the path of the yellow after potting the last red, the Welshman wresting back the initiative with a brilliant clearance to pink.
Both players missed chances in the next, which Williams won to move within one frame of his opponent for the first time since the opening frame of the match, and a nerveless 137 clearance saw him tie at 14-14 at the mid-session interval.
At that point Williams had won nine of the last 11 frames but Trump once again proved undaunted, wiping up a messy 29th frame in which both players missed good early chances, to move within two of victory.
Williams responded with a 138, his fourth century of the match that took his tally for the tournament to 16, equalling the single-year record set by Stephen Hendry in 2002.
The Welshman proceeded to take the lead for the first time after winning a titanic 31st frame, in which Trump chiselled back a 33-point deficit only for Williams to pull off a series of stupendous pots on the colours to move one away from victory.
Trump got the chance to post a frame-winning break after capitalising when Williams rashly split the pack of reds, and despite missing what was effectively a frame-ball red, he got another chance and forced the decider that the game deserved.
Both players milked a lengthy standing ovation prior to the decider, in which Trump seized the advantage after laying Williams in a tight baulk snooker behind the yellow with the reds split.
Williams fluked a red upon his escape but missed the following blue to the middle, leaving Trump with a scattered table which the 32-year-old exploited to the tune of a 49 break which put him on the brink of the final.
Despite leaving a red dangling over the top pocket, Williams could not take advantage of a difficult table, and two exhibition shots helped Trump over the line despite a futile attempt by his opponent to get the three snookers he required.
O’Sullivan clinches eighth final appearance
O’Sullivan went into the final session two frames away from making the final for an eighth time after winning five of the eight frames in the penultimate session of his last-four clash against Higgins.
Resuming 10-6 in front after clinching a thrilling last frame on Friday night on a re-spotted black, the 46-year-old secured a 15-9 advantage.
Despite firing three centuries, O’Sullivan was clinical rather than vintage as he mopped up after a succession of Higgins mistakes, the Scot showing his frustration by slamming his cue into the floor when he let his opponent in early in the 22nd frame.
Higgins managed to win two of the opening three frames in the final session but O’Sullivan held firm and rattled in a break of 83 to seal a 17-11 victory.
O’Sullivan, the oldest player to reach a Crucible final since Ray Reardon in 1982, and Trump will play the first of their four final sessions on Sunday afternoon, with the match scheduled to conclude on Monday evening.
As well as a record-equalling seventh world title for O’Sullivan or a second for Trump, plus a £500,000 first prize, the world No 1 ranking will also be at stake.
Trump, who won the title in 2019, said: “It’s always been a dream of mine to play Ronnie in the final. There have been times I didn’t think it would happen, but now it’s here.
“Ronnie was a hero of mine growing up, and he’s already the best player that’s ever lived, but I think he wants to confirm it by winning a seventh title. He tries to play it down, but I think he’s more determined than ever.
“In the past he could lose his head or play absolutely shocking, but now he is so consistent, he doesn’t play any rash shots. I don’t think I can get away with playing at the level I have so far in this tournament to have a chance.”