Trump thrills Crucible crowd

Judd Trump brought power snooker to the Betfred.com World Championship as he blasted out into an overnight lead in his semi-final against Ding Junhui.

Judd Trump brought power snooker to the Betfred.com World Championship as he blasted out into an overnight lead in his semi-final against Ding Junhui.

The last Englishman standing in Sheffield was almost staging his own 'shot of the championship' competition in the opening session as he built a 5-3 advantage over China's big hope for Crucible glory.

There was a sensational red played at high pace with deep screw along a side cushion which had the audience gasping, a phenomenal long brown, and an exquisite cut red to set up a frame-winning break.

The left-hander also played an aggressive pot right-handed, making light of awkward bridging, in the closing frame.

Trump had made a promise to entertain and he made good on it.

World Snooker chiefs have experimented with variants of the game in order to draw in a new audience, but Trump in full flow takes some beating as a spectacle.

The 21-year-old seemed not to have a worry in the world as he set about attacking Ding, who like Trump was contesting a Crucible semi-final for the first time.

Since knocking out defending champion Neil Robertson in the first round, Trump has slain Martin Gould in round two and Graeme Dott in the quarter-finals.

Merciless, a lethal potting machine and utterly fearless, he was relishing the one-table situation which comes into play at the last-four stage.

One table was removed from the theatre last night, with the other moved to centre stage, and Trump said: "I've got the whole crowd to entertain now, which is going to be good, rather than having just half the arena to myself."

Ding, who last night knocked out Mark Selby, had plenty of support in today's crowd.

He lives in Sheffield throughout the snooker season, and his break of 102 to take the opening frame indicated he had settled down well.

But then Trump took over, and over the next three frames he delivered a masterclass, the youngster from Bristol playing one stunning shot after another.

He responded to Ding's century with a dazzling 110, featuring his startling side-cushion red and the brown.

Trump won the China Open at the start of April and has gained such confidence he admitted to feeling "invincible" after trouncing Dott.

The break he made to clinch frame three against Ding was just 42, but it was surely as good a 42 as there has ever been at the World Championship.

Each shot seemed more impressive than the last. There were echoes of Alex Higgins' famous 69 break in the 1982 semi-final against Jimmy White about it. He cut in a remarkable red to keep the break going and cleared to the pink to edge ahead.

Ding turned down a long red in the fourth frame which might have given him an opportunity to draw level at the interval, but Trump was not so cautious and rammed in an opener from a greater distance before snookering his opponent behind the pink.

It was the right shot. Ding hit the last remaining red but clipped it over the green pocket and Trump feasted on the leftovers, a break of 32 giving him a two-frame cushion.

Ding won frame five, as the standard slipped a touch after the mid-session interval, Trump responded with 51 in the sixth to restore his two-frame lead, only to have it cut again by his opponent, who was clinging on.

It would have been harsh on Trump had he not led after the session, and a break of 59, including his brassy right-handed shot, made sure that he did.

They resume tomorrow morning, play eight more frames in the evening, and providing there is no runaway winner in the best-of-33 contest, they play to a finish on Saturday afternoon.

John Higgins and Mark Williams were preparing to meet tonight in the opening session of the other semi-final.

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