World number 67 Cao Yupeng is through to his maiden ranking final after a shock 6-4 win over Judd Trump at the Dafabet Scottish Open in Glasgow.
The match was a reversal in fortunes for the pair, who have already met in a semi-final this season at the European Masters in Belgium. On that occasion the eight-time ranking event winner Trump proved to be too strong as he stormed to a 6-1 victory.
However, 27-year-old Cao has already enjoyed a magical moment this week in Glasgow , having fired in a 147 maximum break in his 4-0 last 128 win over Andrew Higginson.
That puts Cao in position for a potential bumper £92,000 payout. He is already in line to pocket £22,000 for the maximum break and will now face either John Higgins or Neil Robertson tomorrow for the Stephen Hendry Trophy and the £70,000 top prize.
Trump struggled to find his mark from long range in the opening stages today. That allowed Cao to step in and grasp the early initiative, making 51 and 88 to lead 3-1 at the interval.
Cao then had the opportunity to pull three clear in the fifth frame, but missed a tough last black. The Ace in the Pack stepped in and deposited a similarly tricky final ball before punching the air, as he clung on to his opponent at 3-2.
The tide appeared to have turned as Trump then levelled at 3-3 with a sublime run of 76. However, Cao instantly responded by winning the next two frames to move one from victory and he went on to get over the line a 6-4 winner with a break of 72.
“When I had that chance in the last frame I told myself, concentrate 100% and don’t miss,” said Cao. “I feel really happy to be in my first final. It was a lot of pressure out there today, but I managed to play alright so I’m pleased overall.
“I have spent a lot of time practising and particularly on my safety game. I think last season I only really put in an effort on my potting and as a result I gave my opponents a lot of opportunities.
“Either Neil Robertson or John Higgins will be really tough, because they are both top players. I need to make the most of my chances tomorrow and give everything to try and win.”
Afterwards Judd Trump said that he felt the pace of the game impacted upon his performance.
Trump said: “It is hard and draining. When you are sat there you try to get some momentum going. If you get among the balls you start rushing and end up missing.
“Recently I haven’t really been enjoying it. It is hard to enjoy the games you lose. But, I think it is important just to get over it as soon as possible and not dwell on the loss. It is easy to sit here and moan about how slow he was, but I had my chances and just didn’t take them.”