Judd Trump will face Ali Carter in the 2019 World Grand Prix title decider after the English pair emerged from contrasting semi-final encounters in Cheltenham.
Carter wasted little time on Friday evening when he thrashed Xiao Guodong 6-0 in the opening last four clash.
By contrast, Trump was thoroughly tested by Barry Hawkins in an entertaining battle that went the distance on Saturday night.
The 29 year-old was never in front in the match until the deciding frame, when a terrific break of 95 sent him into Sunday’s showdown at the expense of the 2017 champion.
It marks the second time that Trump has reached this stage following his appearance in the inaugural edition four years ago, when he beat Ronnie O’Sullivan.
The latter was also Trump’s opponent in the two title deciders he has been involved in so far this season.
Those brace of triumphs – notably his 10-4 defeat of the “Rocket” in the final of the Masters at the Alexandra Palace – have helped Trump’s confidence escalate to new heights.
The former world number one will undoubtedly be the favourite to claim the £100,000 winner’s cheque but Carter will still likely represent a stern challenge.
One obvious factor in favour of the “Captain” is the extended rest that he enjoyed over the weekend, having played out his much more comfortable semi-final fixture a day in advance due to the unusual scheduling for ITV broadcasts.
💬 “It was just pure relief having to come from behind the whole match.”@judd147t had to dig deep to overcome Barry Hawkins this evening and clinch his place in the @Coral World Grand Prix final.#CoralSnookerSeries pic.twitter.com/3pzxCCgtkc
— World Snooker (@WorldSnooker) February 10, 2019
The 39 year-old also actually boasts a superior head-to-head record against Trump with four wins from their previous seven ties.
That includes a memorable 13-12 victory in the 2012 World Championship when Trump labeled Carter’s behaviour as “childish”.
Carter certainly has the ability to frustrate with his tendency to bemoan every little run of the ball that doesn’t go his way irking many.
But the former world number two, bidding for a fifth ranking event success, can produce top level performances too and will be looking for a quick start to lay out the foundation for a proper assault.
It marks the first time in two years that Carter will be contesting a match of this magnitude so it will be interesting to see how his nerves hold up.
Trump’s appearances at this stage of proceedings have become commonplace and the former UK champion is bidding to etch his name on ranking event silverware for the tenth time.
Victory in the World Grand Prix would send Trump back into the top four in the world rankings while Carter could return to the elite top 16 if he were to emerge victorious.
That would potentially be huge for his aspirations of guaranteeing an automatic place at the Crucible in April.
However, it’s difficult to look beyond a Trump triumph that would underline his increasing status as one of the game’s leading players.