World Snooker: Judd Trump beats Ding in classic semi

By Mark AshendenBBC Sport at The Crucible
Trump finally overcomes Ding after epic

Judd Trump became the second youngest player to reach the World Championship final with a breathtaking 17-15 win over Ding Junhui at The Crucible.

China's Ding produced three centuries and led 10-7, but the fireworks of the 21-year-old qualifier proved too much.

Resuming at 12-12, Trump went ahead with breaks of 74 and 89, but the world number four fired in a 138 and 119.

Ding kept battling but the spiky-haired Bristolian won three successive frames, a 105 break sealing a famous victory.

It was a match that thoroughly deserved its standing ovation, but it was the Trump family, who have watched and nurtured this young talent over the last 14 years, who were punching the air with delight inside a raucous Crucible theatre.

Seven-time world champion Stephen Hendry is the only player younger than Trump to have reached the final [the Scot was 21 and four months in 1990, while Trump is 21 and nine months].

He also joins a small band of five players to have progressed beyond the World semi-finals as qualifiers (Terry Griffiths, Shaun Murphy, Graeme Dott and Mark Selby are the others.)

"To get to the final with my family and friends is a tremendous achievement," a beaming Trump said. "I'm speechless and I need to go away and think about it before it sinks in."

Having already disposed of the defending champion Neil Robertson and 2006 champion Dott, Trump's progression has been nothing short of astonishing, but to many, not that surprising considering his win at the China Open four weeks ago.

Ding more than played his part in a stunning encounter which began with the pair exchanging centuries in the opening two frames, and was never short of outrageous potting and breathtaking cue control by both players.

It left BBC commentator and 1985 world champion Dennis Taylor purring at "one of the best semi-finals I have ever seen".

Trump built up a 6-3 lead on the first day, before Ding steamed ahead with six successive frames to take firm control at 10-7.

But after back-to-back tons by Trump, followed by Ding's battling 87 to wrap up Friday's third session and level at 12-12, the battle intensified even further on Saturday.

Trump started with a stunning 74, and followed that with an 89 - kicked off by a fine red cut into the middle - to open up a two-frame advantage.

Ding had shown nothing but fight to reach the last four in Sheffield, most notably in surviving a last-frame thriller against Stuart Bingham in the second round and a tense fightback against Mark Selby in the quarter-finals.

And he was at it again, equalling Mark King's highest break of the tournament - 138 - to claw one frame back. The bravery continued with an incredible 47 clearance that included three tricky reds, as well as dislodging yellow and brown off the rails to make it 14-14.

And Trump had to remain slumped in his chair as Ding produced an effortless 119 to send his army of Chinese fans wild.

Trump sets eyes on top prize

"Every time he got in the balls he didn't look like missing," He produced one of the best clearances I have ever seen to get to 14-14. At that stage I didn't think it was going to be my day. But I stayed in there and I thought 'I have come this far and practised all my life for this', so I didn't want to let it go that easily."

The momentum seemed to be swinging towards the 24-year-old Masters champion. Yet it was the Trump family soon celebrating as their spiky-haired boy recovered from a 48-0 deficit to level at 15-15, before a smooth 68 got him to within one of the finish line.

Ding threatened to take the match to a deciding frame when he opened with 29, but Trump was not to be denied his moment of glory. Slowly but surely he picked off the balls to wrap up his dazzling victory with a 105 break - his fourth century of the match.

Ding, who had never previously got beyond the second round at the Crucible, paid tribute to his conqueror. "I like to watch him play," he said. "He's learning quick with more experience.

"I tried to put the white ball on the cushion but he just kept coming back. If he keeps potting balls like that then he can win it."

Trump, who has now built up a winning run of 11 matches over the last two tournaments, is relishing the prospect of facing either Mark Williams or John Higgins, who resume their semi-final at 1900 BST.

"The more my run goes on, my self-belief keeps going up," Trump added. "Just to get to the tournament was an achievement but after winning in China, I came here with an attitude of enjoying it and winning it. And I still believe in that."