Judd Trump held off a determined Ali Carter to reach the Ladbrokes Players Championship final with a 6-4 victory in Llandudno.
The win sees Trump reach his fifth ranking final of the season and a remarkable third in a row. However, the Ace in The Pack has only captured one title this season at the European Masters in Bucharest and will be determined to add to that on Sunday, when he faces either Ding Junhui or Marco Fu.
Carter went into the match with a strong recent record against Trump, having won their previous two meetings, including a 4-1 win at last year’s Players Championship in Manchester.
The Captain opened the match in style making 83 to take the first frame. Trump immediately got on level terms in the second and then took to the front with a break of 75 to lead 2-1.
He should have extended his advantage to two at the interval, but overcut a straightforward final blue to allow Carter to take the frame on the black and restore parity.
The Juddernaut was firing after the break, as he looked to charge towards the line. A run of 61 helped him to take the fifth frame, before a century 101 break made it 4-2. However, Carter showed typical resilience to peg back the 2011 UK Champion, winning the seventh and eighth frames to draw level at 4-4.
Just when momentum appeared to be with the Captain, Trump took to the front once more with a break of 89. A contribution of 58 then helped him to cross the line in and wrap up a 6-4 win.
“I was always in control and I’d have been very frustrated to lose that game,” said the six-time ranking event winner. “In the end my long potting was very good, I was creating a lot of chances and didn’t give him a look in for the last two frames.”
“I’m overdue a title and I’ve lost quite a few this season. It’s never nice losing in the final and it’s a disappointing feeling watching your opponent picking up the trophy. But this is one of the bigger events we play in these days. It’s a very prestigious tournament and I’ve lost a few smaller ones. It would be nice to take those memories away with a big win.”
Though Carter was disappointed with the defeat, he was keen to take the positives from his week in Llandudno.
“I felt like I played well. I missed a couple of really tough balls on the cushion to let him in. In all honesty that didn’t cost me, Judd played great. He pots long balls from everywhere and he is hard to stop on this form,” said Carter. “Today wasn’t my day. I’ve had two good matches against top players and I had another one today, I just didn’t come out on the right end this time.”