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Terrific Judd Trump denies Stephen Maguire to reach Players Championship final

Jamie Shaw in Players Championship

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Judd Trump dispatches John Higgins to reach Players Championship Semi-Finals

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Judd Trump v Yan Bingtao: Players Championship final 2020 preview – Trump eyeing fantastic fifth

A relieved Trump

Judd Trump recovered from 5-3 down to deny Stephen Maguire in a last-frame thriller and progress to the final of the 2020 Players Championship in Southport.

The world number one looked to be heading for the exit door in the elite Coral Series event but turned on the style in the latter stages of the contest to reach his fifth ranking final of the season.

A match of twists and turns saw Trump storm into a 3-0 lead before Maguire snatched frame four to grab a lifeline heading into the interval.

That sparked a run of four consecutive frames for the Scot as he moved to the verge of victory, but only for Trump to seal successive frames to force a decider, before overturning a 49-point deficit with a brilliant 70 break to seal the deal.

“I was very nervous in the decider,” said Trump. “I was just pleased to have any kind of chance with what happened at the start.

“I left a plant on and he ended up potting a brilliant black to go into the pack and I thought that was it, it was done.

“He decided to try and go round the angles, messed it up and left me a shot that I probably wouldn’t go for in any other frame, I just felt like I had to take a chance.

“It went in and I made probably one of the best breaks of my career.

“The difference between now and a couple of years ago is the belief, I’m just telling myself over and over again that I’m the best in the world and World Champion.”

The tone was set for a thrilling battle as the first frame went to a re-spotted black, with Trump eventually sinking it to hit the front.

The reigning World Champion then followed in with breaks of 69 and 132 before adding a 55 in the fourth, only for Maguire to clear with 56 and get off the mark.

The UK Championship finalist then rattled in breaks of 73, 67 and 60 en route to four consecutive frames and a 5-3 lead before Trump stopped the rot in frame nine.

The Bristol left-hander made a 51 to force a decider, and after Maguire missed a golden chance to close out frame and match, Trump punished emphatically with a break of 70 to seal his spot in Sunday’s final.

Trump is now just one win away from a record fifth ranking title of the season to follow up his triumphs at the International Championship, World Open, Northern Ireland Open and German Masters.

Earlier in the day, Shaun Murphy secured his place in the Semi-Finals with a 6-2 victory over Mark Allen to set up a show-down with Yan Bingtao.

The reigning Welsh Open champion produced breaks of 53, 93, 69 and 55 in a dominant display to reach the Last Four of this competition for the fourth time.