We are down to the last four in the International Championship with the first of the two semi-finals being played out in China on Friday over a couple of sessions and the best-of-17 frames as Mark Selby takes on Judd Trump.
There is a guaranteed £75,000 to the winner and the chance to pocket another £100k on top of that for the winner in the final on Sunday. These two are heavyweights in the game so we should be treated to quite some contest.
The former winner of this tournament Mark Selby has confirmed his liking for Chinese tournaments by making it through to this stage of the event. We would be joking if we said it has been plain sailing for the three-time world champion but he is used to having to battle it out to make it through the early rounds of an event. When he gets to this stage he can often be a bugger to stop and he’ll hope that’s the case here.
Selby could consider himself a little fortunate to make it to this stage. He was 5-3 down to Dave Gilbert and performed one of his Houdini acts and then was the beneficiary of one of the most outrageous flukes I’ve ever witnessed which assisted his win over Gary Wilson in the quarter final. He needs a marked improvement to live with Trump in this form you would think. He has it in his locker but whether it comes out here remains to be seen.
The world champion has looked in ominous form as he looks to add the International Championship crown to the world title he won at the end of last season. He has been scoring strongly in the tournament although that isn’t much of a surprise but when opponents have gotten close to him he has had the nous to create his chances and pull away from them again. We saw that in the World Cup and it is a deadly combination.
Trump has become a big game player over the last year or so to the extent that we now expect him to be at this stage of a tournament and it is a surprise when he isn’t. He fears nobody and wants to win everything so we could be entering a period of dominance for the man who became number one in the world earlier in the week. He looks a worthy favourite in this semi-final.
These two have met 27 times and it could not be closer between the pair in past meetings. Selby holds a 14-13 lead but interestingly it is Trump who has won 10 more frames in those matches. That tells us when Trump wins it is with a bit in hand and when Selby comes out on top he does so in a tight battle. Trump has won their last three proper meetings including both of their battles in 2019 so he has further reason to be confident going into this match. When it comes to semi-finals Trump has won both their previous encounters so the younger man has plenty going for him.
I’m with Judd Trump here. I respect Mark Selby as you have to do in this part of the world but Trump looks awesome at the minute and there is no sign of that relenting. Although Selby has made it through to this semi-final, you would have to suggest he has ridden his luck along the way and I fancy over this distance he’ll struggle to stay with the world champion throughout the contest.
The longer this one goes the more I expect Trump to pull away and while Selby is famous for making big time comebacks I don’t think he’ll peg back the younger man here. Trump has won their two meetings this year 6-2 and 5-1 so he has had plenty in hand in both of them. I fancy they’ll be fairly wide apart when the final ball is potted in this encounter as well. I’ll take Trump to cover 1.5 frames.
WON – Back J.Trump (-1.5 frames) to beat M.Selby for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with 888sport