Williams and Perry Seeking Success

Saturday will see the Players Championship champion crowned in Bangkok, Thailand.

Perry won the Xuzhou Open in January - photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.
Perry won the minor-ranking Xuzhou Open in January – photo courtesy of Monique Limbos.

The annual finale to the European and Asian Tours has reached the semi-final stage with both it and the final to be contested later today in the Far East.

A strong quartet of Judd Trump, Mark Williams, Stuart Bingham and Joe Perry comprise the line-up and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any one of them lift the trophy come the end of the day’s play.

Trump must be regarded as the favourite, though, given his form of late, and indeed all season, which has seen him capture two big trophies including last week’s inaugural World Grand Prix.

The Englishman faces Williams for the fourth time in four tournaments having also done battle with the Welshman in the Welsh and Indian Opens, which he lost, before gaining a modicum of revenge en route to his title victory in Llandudno.

Williams is featuring in a fourth ranking event semi-final of the last five months, but was defeated in all of his previous three appearances at the penultimate hurdle.

The 40 year old’s revival during this campaign has been great to see and proves once again that, while form is temporary, class is indeed permanent.

However, Williams will surely be hoping to crown his improved displays with some silverware – notwithstanding the World Seniors Championship he emerged victorious in a few weeks ago.

With the format remaining at the short best-of-seven frames all the way through until the final, it’s very difficult to predict who is going to come out on top.

This is similarly the case in the second semi-final bout between Bingham and Perry.

For many, Perry boasts the unwanted tag of being the best player in the game to have never won a ranking event.

He came agonisingly close at the outset of the season when he was narrowly pipped to the Wuxi Classic title by close friend Neil Robertson in an emotional 10-9 climax.

Ironically, this is where the sprint format might actually suit Perry, just as it did Michael White during his recent maiden ranking success in India.

There is obviously a great deal of pressure to get off to a good start but perhaps that is easier to handle than the mind games attached to a multi-session finale that can swing one way and then another.

Today arguably represents Perry’s best and maybe last chance of joining the elite winners’ group.

The semi-finals get under way at 5am GMT with the final at 12:30pm GMT.

All three matches are live on Eurosport.

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