John Higgins continued his recent hoodoo over Judd Trump by winning 5-3 to reach the semi-finals of the Evergrande China Championship.
On Saturday Higgins will meet China’s 20-year-old Lyu Haotian, who beast Martin O’Donnell 5-1. The winner will go through to Sunday’s final in Guangzhou to compete for the £150,000 top prize.
Scotland’s Higgins has won his last four matches against Englishman Trump, including a 13-12 thriller at the World Championship earlier this year.
World number five Trump had played the best snooker of the week so far, losing just three frames in his first three matches, but struggled to produce the same standard today. He led 3-2 with top breaks of 55 and 50 but Higgins cleared from blue to black to win frame six then made a 79 to lead 4-3.
In frame eight, Trump had a chance to clear from 45-0 down but failed to get position on the final yellow. It came down to the pink and black and when Trump missed a long pink he left his opponent to pot both balls for victory.
“The standard was atrocious,” admitted Higgins, seeking his 31st ranking title. “Judd and I usually have decent games but that was pathetic. I’m struggling and bringing people down to my level. I don’t know how I am in the semi-finals. Judd will be kicking himself because I was hopeless.
“The sixth frame when Judd had the chance to go 4-2 up was a big moment. When I went 3-3 I felt I had a chance. I made a good break in the seventh then luckily in the last frame he left me on the pink. I’m not scoring well at all but hopefully I can make it a street-fight against Lyu tomorrow and have a chance of winning.”
Lyu reached the semi-finals of a ranking event for the second time in his career – his previous run to the last four came at last season’s Northern Ireland Open when he lost to Yan Bingtao.
World number 58 Lyu sailed into a 3-0 lead today with breaks of 102, 57 and 124. O’Donnell pulled one back 93 but his opponent took the next two frames on the colours to seal the result.
“I played well, especially in the first half of the match,” said Lyu, who dropped off the pro tour in 2017 but regained his place and climbed into the top 64 last season. “After the mid-session interval we both missed a couple of easy shots.
“I have practised hard and I play every match with same attitude. My good form over the last few tournaments has continued and that gives me some confidence. Hopefully I can keep that going tomorrow.”