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Vafaei Tops Trump In Thriller

Hossein Vafaei survived a missed match ball from Judd Trump to edge through 6-5 and make the semi-finals of the Six Red World Championship in Pathum Thani, Thailand.

Trump led 5-4 and had looked set for victory in the tenth, before spurning a routine brown to get over the line. The frame came down to the black, with Vafaei missing a tricky first opportunity to the top right.

Eventually a loose safety from Trump gave the Iranian another chance and he deposited it to force a decider. Vafaei held his composure and crafted a brilliant break of 61 to get over the line and set up a semi-final meeting with Thailand’s Thepchaiya Un-Nooh.

Defeat will be a bitter pill to swallow for 2019 World Champion Trump. He will now turn his attention to the WST Classic, where he must perform well to stand a chance of qualifying for the Tour Championship. Only the best eight players on the one-year list will gain a place, with Trump currently adrift in 12th spot.

Vafaei is well versed in the shorter formats of the sport, having won the single frame Shoot Out back in 2022. However, he’s lost four of the five semi-finals he has appeared in on the World Snooker Tour. He believes he can use those experiences to his advantage tomorrow.

“I’ve been in a few semi-finals before. I think they will help me more than the Shoot Out. At the end of the day, it is snooker. Yes it is six reds, but it is still snooker. I think those 15 red semi-finals will help somewhere. I will keep knocking on doors until I win something. I cannot wait to get my hands on that trophy,” said 28-year-old Vafaei.

“When you are out there anything is missable, especially in the humidity out there around the table. In the end I held myself together well and I am very proud of that.

“Thepchaiya is such a nice guy and a good friend of mine. I am looking forward to it and hopefully we can show a good performance for the fans in Thailand. They have been great for us and are hosting the tournament very well. I think it would be a good place for a ranking event. We would love to come back again, it is a great place to play snooker.”

Un-Nooh booked his last four spot with a comfortable 6-2 defeat of China’s Zhang Anda. The home favourite avenged his legendary compatriot James Wattana, who was beaten 6-4 by Zhang earlier in the day.

World number 45 Un-Nooh is a former winner of this event, having taken home the trophy in 2015 after thrashing Liang Wenbo 8-2 in the final. He was also runner-up to Mark Williams in 2017.  Un-Nooh top scored with 64 in this evening’s victory.

Ding Junhui secured his semi-final berth with a 6-2 win over Stuart Bingham, in what was a repeat of the 2016 final, which he also won 8-7.

This evening’s victory came off the back of a sparkling 6-2 win over World Champion Ronnie O’Sullivan this afternoon. His excellent day’s work has earned Ding a semi-final against Tom Ford.

The Leicester cueman was pitted against John Higgins in his quarter-final and emerged a 6-5 winner, but not before having an almighty scare.

Ford charged out to a 5-0 lead, before being pegged back to 5-5 but the steely Scot. However, Ford regained his composure and fired in a brilliant match winning break of 67 to seal a dramatic victory.