Snooker News

Ding or Trump for German Glory

Ding Junhui and Judd Trump set up a mouth-watering final in the German Masters after contrasting victories in the last four in Berlin.

Ding needed all 11 frames to see off the spirited challenge of Welshman Ryan Day whereas Trump surrendered only the solitary frame in his rout of 42 year-old Rod Lawler.

In the opening contest on Saturday, China’s Ding was taken all the way against an opponent featuring in his first ranking event semi-final since 2009.

However, it may have been five years since his last outing but Day displayed few signs of nerves as he took the player of the season to the brink of defeat.

The first six frames were shared with a mixture of good break-building and stoic tactical battles.

When Ding went two clear at 5-3 it looked like he had grabbed control of the tie, particularly after stealing the seventh frame, one he had no right to win, on the pink.

But Day fought back gallantly with the aid of a century break to force a decider and he had first crack in the final frame only to come unstuck by one of the countless heavy contacts that have been the detriment of what has otherwise been an excellent event.

Ding composed himself to ruthlessly compile a match-winning 79 break and advance to his fourth final of the campaign.

Standing in his way of a quartet of triumphs is the other young hot-shot at the pinnacle of the sport in Trump.

The 24 year-old, two years Ding’s junior, has struggled in large parts for the last 12 months and was featuring in his first semi-final of the season.

That said, Trump was always expected to overcome the challenge of Lawler, who hadn’t been at this stage of a main ranking event since 1996.

Despite a strong start from the Liverpudlian when he confidently took the opening frame, Trump produced a devastating array of heavy scoring thereafter to surge into Sunday’s final.

In the six frames he won, Trump knocked in breaks of 127, 122, 117, 66, 57, 48 and 46 to ensure that the slow pace of Lawler was never going to be a prominent feature if he was constantly sat in his chair.

No disrespect to Day or Lawler, who both had superb tournaments and would have been worthy finalists, but a final between two of the world’s top four is what almost everybody would have been hoping for.

In fact, this is the first time that Ding and Trump have met each other in a professional final – although I’m sure it won’t be the last.

The pair have met ten times in the past with the record locked at five wins apiece.

Their most high-profile battle came at the 2011 World Championship when Trump overcame Ding in a titanic semi-final at the Crucible 17-15 in what many regard as one of the best matches ever at the venue.

If they can reproduce that level of drama, the 2,000-strong crowd could be treated to an awesome spectacle.

Despite the fact that Trump has lost a measly four frames en route to the final, Ding must surely start as the marginal favourite given his pedigree so far in 2013/14.

Should he go on to capture his maiden German Masters trophy, he will become the first player since Stephen Hendry 23 years ago to capture four ranking events in a season.

Trump will have to continue his titanic scoring to heap the pressure on Ding, who has rarely shown signs of being phased by nerves in the last year.

Whatever happens, the atmosphere should be electric as the fourth German Masters at the Tempodrom comes to a thrilling conclusion.

The full draw can be viewed by clicking here.

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