World number four Judd Trump continued his excellent run of form as he added weight to his favourite tag for the English Open crown in Manchester. The 27-year old will face Barry Hawkins in Saturday's semi-finals whilst Stuart Bingham takes on Liang Wenbo.
Barry Hawkins (16) v Judd Trump (4)
Hawkins has endured a troubled start to the season after failing to progress past the third round in any competition. Yet since he held his nerve to edge past Jack Lisowski in the first round this week, the World number 16 has dropped just six of 23 frames. He continued that rejuvenated run of form to defeat the higher ranked Ricky Walden after a tight opening that saw the duo locked at 2-2. Hawkins hit top gear in frame five with a break of 91 and never looked back as he won three consecutive frames to see off the World number nine.
His semi-final opponent is the form player of snooker Judd Trump. On a 13 game winning streak and with 21 frame victories from 27 this week, Trump currently looks unstoppable. John Higgins found that out the hard way as Trump began with a break of 120, before the Scotsman edged one back. Though contributions of 96, 66 and 63 put Trump in the driving seat as Higgins managed just 32 points in the next four frames and succumbed to a 5-1 defeat.
Stuart Bingham (2) v Liang Wenbo (20)
After a disappointing campaign last season where he failed to develop his legacy of becoming World Champion, Stuart Bingham is beginning to rekindle the form that pushed him all the way to that historical moment. The World number 2 has won 19 of his last 22 matches and was exceptional against outsider Chris Wakelin. Ronnie O'Sullivan's nemesis had chances in the opening two frames but breaks of 54 and 61 gave Bingham an early lead. Wakelin could only conjure 28 more points in the final three frames as Bingham cruised to a whitewash, ending the match in style with a break of 116.
Liang Wenbo is the lowest ranked player left in the competition and is enjoying his best tournament of the season. Wenbo had to be tactically astute against World number 104 Anthony Hamilton, who could not take his chances to keep the English Open dream alive. Although Hamilton made 97 in frame two, the outsider was outfought by his more experienced opponent who also struggled to make telling contributions but was doing just enough to win the frames. Wenbo finally created his first half century break of 58 to win the tie 5-2 but will have to perform better if he is to defeat Bingham.