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Judd Trump sees off Shaun Murphy to reach Champion of Champions Semi-Finals

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Shaun Murphy slams Stephen Hendry over “poor” punditry

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Judd Trump v Barry Hawkins live stream | Champion of Champions 2023 Semi-Final preview

Trump is through to his fifth straight Champion of Champions semi-final (Credit: Matchroom Sport)

Judd Trump secured his place in the Champion of Champions semi-finals after an entertaining 6-4 victory over Shaun Murphy.

The Ace recovered from 3-1 down in a battle of the former champions the Group 3 final on Thursday, before booking his place in the last four of the prestigious invitational event for the fifth year running.

The highlight of Trump’s victory came in frame seven, the 2021 champion producing a remarkable 56 clearance from 55-1 down to snatch it on the black.

Having arrived in Bolton off the back of successive ranking event triumphs at the Wuhan Open, English Open and Northern Ireland Open, his reward is a showdown with fellow left-hander Barry Hawkins in the semi-finals on Friday.

“I didn’t feel great out there, I felt a bit nervy, a bit rusty, but I managed to produce some good clearances and just dig in and turn it around,” he told Matchroom Sport.

Trump enjoyed a commanding 4-0 victory over World Women’s champion Baipat Siripaporn earlier in the day, hitting breaks of 115, 84 and 62 along the way.

But he could only watch as Murphy opened with breaks of 107 and 67 for a 2-0 lead.

The Magician, who lifted this trophy six years ago, looked good for 3-0 on 51 in frame three. However, a missed red to the left corner was ruthlessly punished as Trump cleared with 73 to get his first frame on the board.

Murphy restored his two-frame buffer at the interval, but the pendulum firmly swung in his opponent’s favour upon the resumption.

A fluked opening red at 32-2 down in frame five paved the way to an 84 clearance, before a run of 54 restored parity at 3-3.

Murphy looked on course to regain his lead at 55-1 up in the seventh frame. But Trump produced a series of superb development and positional shots – notably bringing the final red off the side rail from potting the yellow – as he cleared with 56 to edge his nose in front for the first time on the black.

Once more, the 2005 World champion took command of the following frame with 64. But yet again, the Bristolian cleared to snatch it on the black and move one from victory.

Murphy stayed alive with a run of 58, but it proved a false dawn as Trump closed out the win with a wonderful 107 clearance.

“There were some good shots in that [56] break,” he reflected. “When I first came to the table, there was nothing on and I managed to produce it from nowhere. They’re the kind of clearances that when they go in, it gives you the inspiration to go on and do well in the tournament.

“I have played a few good shots in my time, but in terms of position, that yellow is probably in the top three, but I will let everyone judge it on social media!”

On facing Hawkins, Trump added: “He’s still a player that goes under the radar. He’s such a nice guy. He’s not flamboyant or a flair player, he just does what he needs to do. I think he’s probably the most improved player this season.”