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Judd Trump still on course to defend World Open title

Defending champion Judd Trump will face young Welshman Jackson Page and Ding Junhui will tackle Neil Robertson in the semi-finals of the World Open.

Trump, who won the last edition of the tournament – held in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic, overcame Kyren Wilson 5-2 on Friday in Yushan.

With the quarter-final level at 2-2, the world number two clinched frame five on the black after benefiting from a couple of flukes before completing the job thanks to half-century breaks of 59 and 63.

“It is nice to get a run here and I feel a lot more excited to play snooker than the last three or four seasons,” Trump told the World Snooker Tour.

World number 52 Page, who eliminated former world champions John Higgins and Mark Selby en route to the last eight, made a break of 140 during his 5-2 success over Elliot Slessor.

“I think Jackson has played brilliantly well, he’s scored heavily,” said Trump.

“From what I’ve seen, him and Ding have been the players of the tournament.

“When you are young and playing well in this kind of scenario there is no better feeling. I’m the grumpy old man now trying to stop him.”

Ding delighted the Chinese crowd by firing in breaks of 73, 74, 135 and 102 during a 5-0 whitewash of Ronnie O’Sullivan’s conqueror Hossein Vafaei.

Hundreds of fans gathered on the streets of Yushan to watch their hero in action against Iranian Vafaei, with the match broadcast on a big screen.

Robertson, the 2010 world champion, awaits Ding after breaks of 127 and 115, plus two 87s and a 79, saw him defeat Barry Hawkins 5-2.

If the Australian goes on to win the event, he will retain his top-16 ranking and avoid a trip to World Championship qualifying.

“My game is absolutely back to where it should be now and that is really exciting heading into the back end of the season,” he said.

“It is a blockbuster match tomorrow. If you can’t enjoy playing Ding in a semi-final in China then there’s something wrong.”

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