The 2015 Shanghai Masters final will be contested between Judd Trump and Kyren Wilson – two young players with many years at the top of the sport ahead of them.
In contrasting semi-finals, Trump knocked out defending champion Stuart Bingham in a high-scoring affair while Wilson, featuring in his maiden ranking event last four clash, stunned 2014 runner-up Mark Allen.
The first match on Saturday featured the world champion up against the former world no.1, in a repeat of their epic encounter at the same stage at the Crucible back in May.
That battle went the distance and it looked as though there could be a similarly thrilling duel in store again when the pair traded blow for blow in a frenetic opening exchange.
Locked at 2-2 at the interval, the duo had already notched up runs of 118, 100, 98 and 95 between them as the crowd was in high expectation of witnessing a classic.
However, Trump began to take the upper hand upon the restart, especially buoyed by coming from behind to take the fifth frame on the colours.
When the 26 year-old opened up a two-frame cushion for the first time he had gained control and, despite Bingham snatching the next to close the gap, Trump continued with breaks of 45, 45 and 62 in the next two frames to see out the win and gain a modicum of revenge for the defeat in Sheffield.
The second semi-final was markedly different, as the inexperienced Wilson showed very few signs of nerves in his debut feel of a single-table arena.
Indeed, the 23 year-old looked right at home on centre stage and his displays this week are beginning to justify the many plaudits that have been credited to him throughout the last handful of years.
Wilson has been expected to join the elite at some stage but his career took a minor dip last year, leading to some to question his credentials somewhat.
Yet, as if beating home favourite Ding Junhui on the final black in a quarter-final decider was not enough, the young talent demonstrated his potential to be a mainstay at the top of the game for a long time with a dominant triumph over Allen.
Allen, in fact, had many of the early chances in each frame but could not accumulate enough points, and time and time again was duly punished – six times in fact as Wilson conjured up a 6-1 thumping.
It’s a very interesting final in prospect for tomorrow between two Englishmen in their mid-to-early twenties, a refreshing and rejuvenating showpiece in an era that has been dominated by competitors in their 30s and even 40s.
Trump will obviously start as the favourite as he seeks his fifth ranking event success, but it will be intriguing to see how his opponent handles himself as he has shown few signs of being affected by his surroundings so far.
Regardless of Wilson’s final display, he has certainly announced himself and, should Trump prevail as what will be expected, then he too will be sending a message to all of his rivals that his form from last season is continuing apace.
Watch this space.
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