Judd Trump stormed into the final of the 2019 International Championship with a ruthless 9-4 victory over two-time champion Mark Selby in Daqing on Friday.
Trump, making his first tournament appearance since being crowned World Champion in May, continued his explosive start to the season by moving a step closer to the £175,000 title.
In a repeat of their Masters and World Grand Prix Quarter-Finals earlier this year, Trump maintained his dominant recent record over Selby – who was bidding to reach his third final in Daqing since 2016.
The new world number one fired in three century breaks and reeled off seven consecutive frames to turn the match on its head and set up a meeting with either defending champion Mark Allen or Shaun Murphy in Sunday’s final.
“It was probably somewhere near how I was playing to win the World Championship,” Trump told World Snooker. “That is what you have to do to win tournaments nowadays.
“It is very pleasing to get off to a good start after quite a long break. I’ve had three months with no tournaments and even though I’ve practised I still wasn’t match sharp.
“After winning the World Championship it is very easy to get into bad habits.
“Everyone wants to beat you as well so they are going to be raising their games.”
Trump set his stall out in style with a break of 113 to clinch the opening frame, but only for Selby to respond by winning the next four frames on the spin with high breaks of 56 and 60 to take command.
However, the tide turned swiftly once again as Trump took frame six with a 60 break and added the seventh before firing in consecutive breaks of 97, 108, 97 and 116 without a single point in reply to move 7-4 in front.
Selby did manage to force a mid-session interval thanks to breaks of 50 and 59 in frame 12, but 2012 International Champion Trump quickly crushed any hopes of a trademark comeback by dominating the following frame to clinch victory.