Snooker News

English Open Final: Judd Trump vs Liang Wenbo

Judd Trump and Liang Wenbo will contest the English Open final after emerging past contrasting semi-final encounters on Saturday.

Liang holds a 4-3 lead in their previous clashes. Photo credit: Dan Mullan.

England’s Trump continued his hot streak of late by winning his 14th match in a row to reach a second successive ranking event final.

The 27 year-old wasn’t at his high-scoring best against Barry Hawkins but nicked several scrappy frames as he moved one step closer to adding to the European Masters crown he captured last Sunday.

Should he claim the trophy today, Trump would be the first player in three years to be triumphant in consecutive ranking events.

By contrast, Liang was pushed all the way to a decider in a thrilling encounter with 2015 world champion Stuart Bingham.

In a speedy tie which boasted a dazzling array of sizable contributions – only one of the 11 frames failed to provide a break above 50 – Liang battled back from behind to prevent an all-English final showdown.

The Chinese trailed 4-2 but runs of 74 and a superb 134 drew the 29 year-old level before Bingham responded with a century of his own to retake the advantage.

A third ton on the trot from the pair, a wonderful 138 from Liang, forced the final frame shoot out, which the UK Championship runner-up confidently took with a 53 and a 61.

While Trump is chasing his seventh ranking event title, Liang is gunning for his maiden triumph at this level.

He has twice been a beaten finalist, most notably of course in York last year when, en route to ultimately being denied the success by Neil Robertson, Liang actually came from 4-1 to beat Trump in the last 32.

However, the latter gained his revenge at this year’s World Championship, pulling away from 8-8 for an equally narrow victory in the first round.

Overall, though, Liang somewhat surprisingly possesses the marginally better head-to-head record.

The climax to the English Open, where the champion collects £70,000, will also yield the first winner in the inaugural Home Nations series.

In reality, the chances of a player securing all four tournaments and pocketing the £1 million bonus is highly unlikely.

Yet, out of the entire field which began the week with dreams of being the last man standing on Sunday to possibly achieve the feat, Trump is among a group of maybe three or four competitors who just about had a sniff to do so.

Meanwhile, it’ll again be intriguing to see what the crowd is like for the final at EventCity after what was a disappointingly attended penultimate day of action.

Why this venue was chosen again after what was obviously an unsuccessful outing at the Players Championship in March is beyond reason.

It’s obviously important that the venue can accommodate 128 players but without fans there is a distinct lack of atmosphere which looks dreadful on television – not exactly a marketing dream for the sport.

Hopefully Trump and Liang will get the opportunity to play in front of a capacity audience today but, even if they do, this should be the last time for EventCity on our screens.

Coverage of the finale will be on Eurosport and Quest TV.

Click here to view the draw.

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