Top ten stars Judd Trump and Stuart Bingham will meet in Sunday's European Masters final in Belgium after contrasting performances in their last four matches.
Trump exuberates confidence as he strolls into the final
Trump's appearances on the circuit this season have been few and far between and when he has taken to the table his impact has been insufficient until this weekend. He reached the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Masters but failed to qualify for the World Open and lost in the early stages of the China Championship.
However, his form has been impeccable in Belgium and he peaked in the semi-finals against Cao Yupeng who was experiencing the final four of a ranking event for the first time. After a break of 63 gave Cao an early lead, Trump stormed away from the number 84 seed with six consecutive frame wins.
Cao was barely afforded a moment at the table as he scored just 24 points in those six frames, failing to pot in four of those. In contrast, the defending champion made two centuries and four more breaks above 60 as he hit top form.
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Bingham squeezes past Zhou in tight second semi-final
Like Cao, compatriot Zhou Yuelong was making his maiden ranking semi-final appearance and he tested 2015 World champion Stuart Bingham to the limit in a close contest.
Bingham took an early lead but the number 27 seed hit back with breaks of 54 and 101 to go 2-1 ahead. However, after a spell of free-flowing snooker, the contest delved into a tactical battle with four tight frames. Bingham took the first two to restore his advantage before Zhou secured a duo of his own with slender 20-point and 9-point successes.
However, veteran campaigner Bingham used his experience to dig himself out of a tight corner. A break of 68 tied the contest at 4-4 before another tactical victory put the number seven seed within touching distance of the final. Bingham took the lead in frame ten before Zhou dragged himself back into the tie with a break of 54, only for the contribution to falter before Bingham jumped on the opportunity to secure a 6-4 win.