Northern Ireland Open: Judd Trump beats John Higgins 6-3 to reach final

Judd Trump
Judd Trump

Judd Trump booked his place in the Northern Ireland Open final with a 6-3 victory over John Higgins in their semi-final in Belfast.

In a repeat of last season's World Championship final and their last-four meeting at the World Open recently, it was Trump who again proved the stronger though for Higgins, he will be left to rue a couple of missed opportunities of his own that were to cost him dear.

Nevertheless, having recovered from 3-2 behind to draw level, Trump produced the sort of snooker that has seen him rise to the top of the sport but had evaded him for much of the early part of the afternoon, an impressive run to the winning line seeing him reach his third major final in as many weeks.

The match started with Higgins much the brighter, a well-constructed run of 55 enough to take the opening frame before he built a healthy lead in frame two, one that would have been a frame-winning advantage had he not missed a tricky red with the rest having left himself wrong side of the blue two shots earlier.

Still, it required a nerveless clearance of 42 from Trump to steal the frame, the first of two big turning points in the match where Higgins failed to put his opponent to the sword.

When Trump controlled frame three he found himself in front for the first time but Higgins responded in admirable fashion, breaks of 78 and 88 putting him 3-2 up before he looked sure to extend his lead further when adding a run of 55 in frame six.

However, another miss with the rest again opened the door for Trump and when he levelled the scores once more, this time at 3-3, Higgins was left stunned and running out of answers.

Sensing his chance, Trump took control of the match in the manner befitting the number one ranked player in the world, dictating terms in frame seven and then fairly racing into Sunday's final with subsequent breaks of 67 and 136.

While the clearance to close out the match brought the Belfast crowd to its feet, it was the astonishing positional shot from black to red in frame eight that sent social media into a frenzy, the cue ball screwed in and out of baulk from the black spot before landing perfectly on frame-ball red via three cushions.

A nod of the head and a wry smile from Higgins told the story and as he offered Trump a warm congratulations moments later, snooker, and perhaps even Higgins, were finally accepting a real changing of the guard.

Northern Ireland Open: Saturday's schedule

Saturday November 16
Afternoon session (1300 GMT)
TV coverage: Eurosport

  • Judd Trump 6-3 John Higgins

Saturday November 16
Evening session (1900 GMT)
TV coverage: Eurosport

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