International Championship: Trump edges into the semi-final on the final black

International Championship: Trump edges into the semi-final on the final black

Judd Trump was locked in the tightest match of the season against Shaun Murphy.

Chris Lincoln

An elite final four will make up the semi-finals of the International Championship in China, yet no player will be more grateful than Judd Trump who made it through by the finest of margins.

Judd Trump - Ding Junhui

On paper the World number three against the World number four was always going to be a tight contest but even the finest of analysts could not have anticipated the outcome of this encounter.

The pair exchanged the opening five frames, though Trump looked the more settled as he produced breaks of 102 and 109 continuouslytaking the lead before being pegged back.

However the higher ranked player was made to pay for not extending his opportunities as Shaun Murphy won a trio of frames with similar breaks of 77, 75 and 70 moving 5-3 ahead and one frame away from the final.

Breaks of 74 and a 119 drew Trump level and took the match to a final frame decider. A tactical battle ensued and went right to the final black, with Trump eventually potting the crucial ball in a dramatic finale.

Trump's semi-final opponent will be home hopeful Ding Junhui who ensured the reigning Champion will not defend his crown. 2015 winner John Higgins took a 2-0 lead before being edged out in frame three.

That tight victory gave Ding the momentum he required to dominate the contest from then on. A quintet of frame victories, with breaks between 56 and 130 in each one, allowed Ding to cruise to victory as Higgins managed just 32 points in the final five frames.

Higgins won't be defending his crown (photo: Getty Images)
Higgins won't be defending his crown (photo: Getty Images)

Stuart Bingham - Mark Selby

The two latest World Champions will face off in the second semi-final when Stuart Bingham and Mark Selby lock horns. Bingham made hard work of Michael Holt in the final eight after almost blowing a 4-0 advantage.

The 2015 World Champion produced a trio of breaks in the 80's on his way to a substantial lead, before Holt hit back with four frames in a row himself. A 131 put Bingham back in the driving seat before Holt drew level oncemore, only for Bingham to show his class in another tight final frame decider.

Selby faced a much easier route into the final four as he defeated Joe Perry 6-3. The reigning World Champion fell behind in the opening frame but made breaks of 132 and 127 as Perry failed to pot in the next three frames.

Selby added two more to go 5-1 ahead, before Perry pulled two back with breaks of 64 and 86. Yet Selby was strong enough to win a tactical battle in the ninth and final frame to add his name to the semi-final list.