Judd Trump produced a sensational fightback from 5-1 down to defeat Martin Gould 6-5 and reach the World Grand Prix final in Llandudno on Saturday.
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World number seven Trump turned the tables to deny Gould a first major final appearance four almost four years as he produced a stunning mixture of effective break-building and safety to edge through.
Gould showed no sign of nerves in front of a sell-out crowd at Venue Cymru as he fired in top breaks of 50 and 87 in taking a 2-0 lead, but only for Trumpt get off the mark with a spectacular 121.
Runs of 33 and 35 in the third handed Gould a 3-1 advantage, one which he pressed home by taking the next two frames with sublime breaks of 53 and 111 to make it 5-1.
Trump looked to be playing for pride, but the left-hander kept his hopes alive with a 55 break to stop the rot, before firing in runs of 20 and 40 to kick-start the revival and 5-3.
A well-taken 61 added further momentum to the youngster’s cause as he hit back to within one, before forcing a dramatic decider after clinching frame ten by 62 points to nil.
Gould was again frozen out in his seat as he watched Trump knock in decisive breaks of 37 and 59 in the decider to set up a final show-down with either Stuart Bingham or nemesis Ronnie O’Sullivan on Sunday.
“I knew I wasn’t playing well, I was getting completely dominated and I wasn’t quite getting through the ball today,” Trump told ITV Sport.
“When Martin was 5-1 up I was thinking about the train time home. I just had to change my gameplan and battle like Mark Selby does.
“At times I felt like I was going to lose my head but I just managed to keep it and that’s probably the difference between winning tournaments and going out in the semis.
“Six months ago I would’ve probably capitulated and gave in, so I’ll take a lot from that – I really earned it.
“I’m not playing anyway near how I did at the start of the season, but I’ve been working on my safety – I still need to improve a lot and tomorrow’s another day.”
The four-time major champion has not lifted a televised title since last July’s Australian Open, having lost in the final of the Paul Hunter Classic and Champion of Champions in 2014.
He will meet the winner of the all-Essex clash between O’Sullivan and Bingham over two sessions on Sunday, and admits he would relish a revenge mission against ‘The Rocket’ – who he as beaten by in November’s epic Champion of Champions final.
“It would be nice to get revenge on Ronnie, but if Stuart wins that then he’s obviously played some exceptional snooker.
“Either way it’s going to be a tough game, I’ll just go out and enjoy it,” he added.