Judd Trump Advances to UK Championship Semis, Eyes World Number One Spot

Judd Trump secured a 6-3 victory over Mark Selby in the MrQ UK Championship, earning a spot in the semi-finals. This win keeps Trump in contention to surpass Ronnie O’Sullivan and claim the world number one ranking. If Trump wins his upcoming semi-final against Ding Junhui and O’Sullivan loses to Hossein Vafaei in the last four clash, he will ascend to the top spot.

Trump, the player of the season, has already achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the fifth snooker player to clinch three consecutive ranking titles at the English Open, Northern Ireland Open, and Wuhan Open. Despite being the runner-up at the recent Champion of Champions, Trump, a 26-time ranking event winner, aims to secure his second UK title, the first being in 2011 with a 10-8 victory over Mark Allen.

Mark Selby, a 22-time ranking event winner, will have to wait for his first title of the season after this defeat. Despite strong performances, he fell short, being the runner-up at the British Open and losing in the semi-finals at the Shanghai Masters and European Masters.

In the match against Selby, Trump took an early 4-0 lead with breaks of 100, 93, and 52. Although Selby fought back by winning the fourth frame, Trump extended his lead to 5-1 with a run of 95. Selby managed to take the seventh and made a break of 98 to narrow the gap to 5-3. However, Trump secured the ninth frame, reaching the semi-finals in York for the first time since 2014.

Reflecting on the match, Trump expressed relief at overcoming Selby’s resurgence and emphasized the importance of proving oneself in significant events. Looking ahead to the semi-finals, he is excited to perform on the big stage and acknowledges the significance of delivering in high-profile tournaments.

In the other semi-final, Ding Junhui earned his place with a thrilling 6-5 victory over Mark Williams. Ding, a three-time UK Champion, is now two matches away from a fourth title and has secured a spot in the top 16 for the upcoming Masters. The match included a historic frame, with Williams winning the eighth by a record-breaking scoreline of 101-94, making it the highest-scoring frame in snooker history. The cumulative 195 points surpassed the previous record of 192 set by Dominic Dale and Peter Lines. Ding eventually sealed the victory in the decider with a century break of 105.

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