Judd Trump pulled off a deciding frame clearance, which he described as the “best of his career”, to beat Stephen Maguire 6-5 and reach the Coral Players Championship final in Southport.
With the scores locked at 5-5, it was Maguire who had the first opportunity to clinch a place in the final. The Scot broke down on 49, before Trump deposited a risky red to the middle and embarked on a sensational break.
The key shot came when Trump delicately developed the last red, leaving it over the middle with the colours at his mercy. The World Champion and world number one made no mistake, completing his run of 70 to seal a stunning win.
Trump had looked to be on course for a more routine victory in the early stages. After taking an intriguing first frame on a re-spotted black, breaks of 69 and 132 had moved the 30-year-old into a 3-0 advantage. However, a brilliant run of 56 saw 2004 UK Champion Maguire steal the fourth frame and wrest the momentum, making it 3-1.
Maguire then claimed a further four on the bounce, with contributions of 73, 67 and 70, to move one from victory at 5-3. It wasn’t to be for five-time ranking event winner Maguire, as Trump clinched the next two frames to set up the grandstand finish where he dramatically stole the win.
Defeat for Maguire acts as a massive blow to his chances of earning a place at the Coral Tour Championship. Only the top eight players in the one-year list will make it to the elite Llandudno event. Maguire currently trails compatriot John Higgins by £6,500 in 9th position. He will require a strong showing at the upcoming Gibraltar Open to book his spot.
Victory leaves Trump just one match away from a fifth ranking title of the season. That would see him equal the record for events won in a single campaign, which is held jointly by Stephen Hendry, Ding Junhui, Mark Selby and Ronnie O’Sullivan. Bristolian Trump has already notched up victories at the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open and German Masters.
Trump said: “For a deciding frame that was probably the best clearance I’ve ever made. It is definitely in the top five or top ten in any frame. It was under the utmost pressure, with what had happened before.
“I actually felt more relaxed in the decider than I had in the rest of the game, apart from the first couple of frames. Stephen put me under pressure and at 5-3 down I was gone, it was done and dusted. I managed to find something from somewhere and probably the belief of being world number one and World Champion was what helped me to make that clearance.
“It is very tough mentally and it is something that I haven’t particularly worked on, but as I’ve grown older I’ve managed to get that self belief to be able to really dig in under pressure and give myself a chance. In the past I would maybe give up a bit easier, today I really fought for it and made a brilliant break at the end.”