Snooker

UK Snooker Championship 2020: Judd Trump and Neil Robertson reach semi-finals

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Dates: 23 November to 6 December Venue: Marshall Arena, Milton Keynes
Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV, BBC iPlayer, BBC Red Button, BBC Sport website and BBC Sport app from Saturday, 28 November.

World number one Judd Trump edged past Kyren Wilson 6-4 and Neil Robertson outclassed Mark Selby 6-2 to reach the semi-finals of the UK Championship.

Trump, winner in 2011, made two tons and four further breaks of 50 or more.

Selby failed to pot a ball in the first two frames and Robertson made breaks of 75, 122 and 63 for a 3-0 advantage.

Selby pulled two frames back but Australia’s Robertson cleared up with 56 to go 4-2 ahead, and followed it up with 91 and 130 for victory.

Robertson will come up against Zhou Yuelong in the last four on Saturday after the Chinese player defeated Englishman Jack Lisowski 6-4.

World number 25 Zhou made highest breaks of 99 and 69 to reach the last four of a Triple Crown event for the first time, but now comes up against Robertson, who demolished him 9-0 in the European Masters final in January.

England’s Trump faces China’s Lu Ning, who beat Joe Perry 6-4 to reach the UK Championship semi-finals for the first time.

Trump goes marching on

Trump’s brilliance has seen him claim the English Open and Northern Ireland Open ranking titles so far this season, as well as reach the final of the Championship League.

He started in flawless fashion against Wilson, who defeated him at the World Championship in August, with breaks of 73, 102 and 106 to take the first three frames.

An outrageous fluked red enabled Wilson to get on the board as he responded with three in a row, but Trump regained control with breaks of 71 and 63 to extend his winning streak to 14 matches.

Trump said: “It is always tough against him – he always seems to get flukes in and it kept him in the game. I managed to dig deep and made two breaks at the end.

“I had to be patient, had to wait for my opportunities and did not look like missing at one point. I held myself together well and making crucial breaks is something you have to do to win events.”

Sublime Robertson close to perfection

A repeat of the 2013 final was expected to be a close contest but world number three Robertson was sublime when in the balls to take apart Leicester’s Selby with two centuries and three further 50-plus breaks.

The sixth frame was pivotal. Selby had a chance to level at 3-3 but lost position on a red and Robertson countered by clearing the table, before taking the next two to advance.

Two-time champion Robertson told BBC Two: “It was really good, especially the first three frames – it was pretty much perfect.

“I did not have many chances in the next two but knocked in an unbelievable red followed by two big breaks. My long game today was really good.

“I forced him into making mistakes. Sometimes you can play Mark Selby with really good safety and not put him into trouble but I felt I played better safety shots and put him under pressure.”

Selby added: “I didn’t really have a chance. The first three games I barely potted a ball and he was fantastic. The sixth frame was a big turning point and if the kiss goes right I would be 3-3.”

Asked whether Robertson could go on to win the title, Selby replied: “Most definitely if he plays like that. At the interval he had 100% pot success, 100% long pot success and 100% safety success and that is impossible to beat. It is unfortunate for me I was on the end of it.”

‘Robertson will take some stopping’ – analysis

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry on BBC Two:

“That will give Robertson great satisfaction to finish with a century. He will be very pleased with himself and cannot play better than that. He knows it is not job done as he still has two matches to go and he is all about titles.

“It shows you the fine line between stellar players, Selby could have gone 3-3 but sat in his chair after that mistake.

“Judd Trump seems to have the answer against anyone these days – whatever they throw at him he can raise it more. Robertson played perfect snooker though and that is hard to beat.”

1991 world champion John Parrott:

“Robertson will take some stopping on that performance. That is one of the best exhibitions in long potting I have seen. It was phenomenal. He scored brilliantly and you cannot play better than that.”

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