Judd Trump potted his way into the semi-finals of the UK Championship with an impressive 6-3 victory over Stephen Maguire in York.
The China Open champion, who saw off Ronnie O’Sullivan in a tight last 16 clash that went the distance on Tuesday, took a while to get going in his encounter with the Scotsman but was in full throttle by the end of the contest.
Maguire had knocked out defending champion John Higgins in the previous round and was clearly in better form this week after a prolonged spell of indifferent performances.
However, not even a compact safety game could keep his opponent off the table in the latter parts of the match as Trump rattled in three centuries after the mid-session interval to race away with the victory.
Maguire took a scrappy opening frame but Bristol’s Trump claimed the subsequent three to lead at the break 3-1.
Consecutive tons of 106 brought the Englishman to the brink of triumph and although 2004 champion Maguire put some respectability to the scoreline by winning the subsequent two frames, Trump sealed the deal in the ninth with a classy 120.
To think back to Monday afternoon when the 22 year-old was 4-2 down against Dominic Dale and seemingly heading for an early exit only for a series of remarkable flukes that turned the tie around and it is almost a wonder that the world championship runner-up has made it this far.
While he did lift the China Open trophy back in April, Trump will realise that he has to claim one of the big three majors of the sport in the World, UK or Masters to underline his emergence as a new dominant force.
In the last four, he will face the daunting challenge of Neil Robertson – the man he beat in the first round at The Crucible but lost to in the final of the Alex Higgins International Trophy in October.
Robertson made relatively light work of China’s Ding Junhui in a surprisingly easy 6-2 affair.
The first four frames were shared with a top run of 101 from the Aussie and the former world champion picked off the remaining four to go beyond the last 8 in this event for the first time in his career.
At 3-2, Ding had the opportunity to level once again but couldn’t get over the winning line and Robertson cleared to the pink to shatter his opponent’s hopes – the Chinese star unable to get back on terms thereafter.
For Robertson, it continues the opportunity to continue his impressive streak of triumphing in at least one ranking event in each calendar year since 2006.
Tonight, the bottom half of the draw will see Ricky Walden take on Shaun Murphy and Mark Allen face Marco Fu.