John Higgins and Marco Fu will contest the Scottish Open final after emerging victorious from contrasting last four ties on Saturday.
Home favourite Higgins delighted his local following with a marvellous comeback that stunned England’s Judd Trump.
The latter was in stellar form as he dominated the opening exchanges with an array of high-scoring visits.
With three centuries, a 99 and a break of 70, Trump raced into an apparently insurmountable 5-1 lead only for Higgins to mount an unlikely fight back to prevail in a decider.
Trump did precious little wrong but the ‘Wizard of Wishaw’, aided by breaks of 110, a brace of 52s and a superb 68 in the last frame, played a tactical masterclass in offering Trump hardly any match winning opportunities.
In the second semi-final, Hong Kong’s Fu had a much more straightforward time of it as he romped to a 6-1 success over Yu Delu.
China’s Yu was featuring in his maiden ranking event appearance at this stage of a tournament so Fu was always going to be a strong favourite to advance.
Worse still for the 29 year-old was that Fu continued his impressive streak of form this week which has seen the former Grand Prix and Australian Open champion produce some of the best snooker of his career.
Fu compiled breaks of 130 and 100 in overcoming the all-Asian battle, taking his tally of tons this week to an incredible ten.
The 38 year-old will require all of that scoring prowess on Sunday if he is to deny Higgins what would be only a second ranking event triumph on home soil.
Glory for Higgins would also mean his overall tally would extend to 29, taking him into second on his own on the all-time winners’ list behind countryman Stephen Hendry.
Higgins and Fu have a long competitive history dating back to their first clash against one another in 2000.
Fu prevailed that day in a Premier League encounter and, in fact, has the marginally superior head-to-head record of the pair.
Somewhat oddly, though, this showdown is their most high-profile encounter by far having never met each other in a ranking event beyond the quarter-finals.
Higgins will undoubtedly begin as the favourite considering the standard he has delivered in the last month and a half.
His winnings since the start of the November will be approaching half a million pounds, ensuring a happy Christmas in the Higgins household either way.
Of course, the former world no.1 will still be desperate to claim another trophy in front of his home support, family and friends.
Fu’s ability to replicate his best form has often been questioned when he has appeared in big matches such as these so it will be interesting to see how his level maintains.
It’s unlikely that Higgins will roll over easily so it’s up to the former UK and Masters runner-up to continue his hot streak of form and mount a determined challenge.
Whether he can hold his nerve with the winning line in sight remains to be seen.
Live coverage of the entire final will be on Eurosport and Quest TV.
Categories: Snooker News