Judd Trump is through to the last four of the International Championship in Daqing after overcoming Shaun Murphy on the very final ball of their quarter-final clash.
The win sees Trump continue his remarkable run of form in 2016/17. It will be his third consecutive semi-final appearance.
After Trump claimed the opener, Murphy stole the second on the final black – foreshadowing the last ball drama which lay ahead.
The high quality affair then moved up a gear in terms of standard. Trump went 3-2 ahead with runs of 102 and 100. Murphy, nicknamed the Magician, then claimed three in a row thanks to contributions of 77, 75 and 70. It put him one away from victory at 5-3. However, Trump wasn’t going to back down and continued to attack. He made breaks of 74 and 119 to force a final frame.
The decider was tighter than the rest of the match and exceeded 45 minutes in frame time. Neither player could produce a telling contribution and it came down to the colours. Murphy had Trump on the ropes after he laid a precarious snooker on the green. After missing once, Trump had to make a hit the second time to avoid needing snookers. He managed the hit and eventually created a great opportunity to win the match. When trying to get position on the black, the white caught the knuckles of the left middle and a safety battle ensued. Eventually Murphy missed a middle range shot to the top right corner and left the ball over the pocket to allow Trump the easiest of match balls.
“It was quite a stressful game really. I was unlucky at the start but he didn’t miss a ball from 3-2 down. I did well to get to 5-5,” said Trump. “In the back of my mind I know that I’ve not lost a deciding frame this year. That kind of helps your mindset.”
Ding Junhui delighted the home crowd to secure a semi-final showdown with Trump. He did trail John Higgins 2-0, but won six frames in a row to blow away the defending champion. The Chinese superstar made breaks of 81, 56, 104, 130 and 63 to cruise to a 6-2 win.
Ding said: “I played great today. John started well but I fought back very hard. I was taking my chances and made a lot of breaks. It was a surprise as John Higgins has so much experience. I’m playing well.”