Judd Trump admitted he felt “shaky” despite booking his Champion of Champions final spot with a 6-3 victory over Mark Selby.
The reigning champion hit a top break of 114 as he kept his title defence on track by seeing off the Jester at the Bolton Whites Hotel.
Outside the Championship League and WST Pro Series, Trump has now won each of his last five meetings with Selby, including all four of their semi-final showdowns.
The Ace, who overcame Luca Brecel and Mark Allen in Group One on Wednesday, will face either Ronnie O’Sullivan or Fan Zhengyi in Sunday’s showpiece.
“It’s been a really tough draw, so I’m delighted to be through to the final,” he told ITV.
“I felt a little bit more shaky out there today; I didn’t feel that comfortable. But overall, I felt like I was probably the stronger of the two of us.”
“I will look forward to another amazing final,” he added on Matchroom Live. “This is a tournament I love playing in. I love coming here. The atmosphere is always brilliant. The crowd is brilliant. It’s nice to be involved in the final again.”
Trump was appearing in his fifth Champion of Champions semi-final and was quickly out of the blocks with a break of 89.
Selby levelled, but the Ace controlled the next two frames with a stunning three-ball plant paving the way for a run of 74 that moved him 3-1 up at the interval.
Four-time World champion Selby was eyeing his maiden final of this event at the third attempt, having fallen at this stage in 2013 and 2020.
The Jester, appearing in only his second semi-final since lifting his fourth Crucible title 18 months ago, responded at the restart with a contribution of 66, before edging a tight sixth frame to level at 3-3.
Momentum was certainly with the world number four, who had the first opportunity of frame seven, only to see a pacy black ricochet back out of the pocket when looking good to lead for the first time.
Trump wasted no time in punishing his opponent; breaks of 83 and 114 moving him to the brink of victory. He then laid a brutal snooker that took Selby five attempts to make contact with a red, before eventually sealing a second successive appearance in the final.
Selby told ITV of the missed black: “I was just off-straight, I felt like I hit it as good as I could hit it to create the angle I needed.
“Watching it back, it looks like it’s gone right in the back of the pocket and jumped straight back out. I felt like the momentum swung completely on that because I felt good at three-all.
“After that, the next time I had a chance was the red down the rail at 5-3 down and 50 behind.”
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