JUDD TRUMP was made to fight for his place in Sunday’s final of the Cazoo Champion of Champions after racing into a 5-0 lead.
Needing just one more frame in the best of 11 semi-final, Trump was pegged back by Barry Hawkins who won three straight frames of his own.
The Hawk was unable to maintain the revival, however, and Trump closed out the next to seal the match 6-3.
Trump is one win away from his second Champion of Champions title, and this year’s prize of £150,000. He will face the winner of Saturday’s semi-final between Mark Allen and John Higgins.
“I had to stay patient to get over the line,” said Trump. “It got a bit nervy after the interval but it was important to keep my head out there.
“There can be times when it gets tough, but if you have a two or three frame advantage you have to remember you are still the favourite. You forget what has gone before and take each frame one at a time.
“This is an event that suits me – the dress code, the format, everything plays into my hands and I feel relaxed in this event and at home with the format. I feel like it brings out the best in me.”
Sunday will be Trump’s fifth final of the season – and we are barely at the halfway point. It will also be his third consecutive Champion of Champions final.
It was safety first at the start of the match and it was nearly 20 minutes before the first red and colour combination was potted, by Trump. The frame was then determined by who capitalised on his opponent’s mistakes, and Trump edged it on the black.
The World Number 2 won the second frame with a break of 69 and went slightly better to win the third with a break of 71.
Hawkins’ safety play was below par, and he found himself 4-0 down at the break.
Ace in the Pack Trump almost landed the first century of the semi-final in the first frame after the break – missing when he was on 99, but he still moved to within one frame of victory. In the four frames that followed the opener, Hawk scored just 32 points in total.
The Hawk made him wait by finally winning a frame to make it 5-1, and he followed up by taking the next two.
Trump, the pre-tournament favourite, finally clipped The Hawk’s wings to close it out, but Hawkins still went home with a £30,000 prize.
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