It was a tale of two contrasting semi-finals in Beijing as Judd Trump and Ricky Walden saw off their Scottish opponents to set up an exciting final on Sunday.
Walden sneaks past Higgins
Walden had to work extremely hard as he edged past Australian Open champion John Higgins in a final frame decider during the first final four match of the day. In a rollercoaster encounter, Higgins set the early pace by putting the first frame on the board, before Walden hit back with two of his own. Higgins drew level in the fourth, before world number ten Walden struck again with a 113 break to lead 3-2 at the interval.
With just two places separating the players in the rankings, the match certainly lived up to the expectation of a close clash. Higgins drew level oncemore, before Walden put himself two frames clear for the first time in the match, as a 96 break in the eight frame put him 5-3 clear. The Scotsman is a gritty performer though and set about his business with determination, despite requiring the final three frames. A 99 break took Higgins back within one of his opponent, before a close 67-57 was stolen with a 52 break to take the match to a decider. Yet Walden composed himself and a fantastic 131 break took him to his second consecutive tournament final.
The Juddernaught marches on
Judd Trump found a much more comfortable passage to the final against Stephen Maguire. The world number seven never looked in doubt as he failed to drop a frame in the entire match. A century break set him on his way in the first frame, before edging two closer following frames to take a 3-0 lead. Trump then add a 90 break on his way to 4-0 before virtually putting the game to bed with a 70-65 success in the penultimate frame. Trump sealed his place in the final with a more comfortable 77-35 success in the sixth frame to win the match 6-0 in double quick time.
Neither Trump nor Walden have won a major ranking title so far this season, but both are no strangers to the big occassions. Trump was successful in the Championship League, lost only by one frame in the final of the Shanghai Masters and reached the semi-finals of the Masters. Walden reached the final of the Players Championship last weekend and was also a runner-up on the Asian Tour earlier in the campaign.