|place: Alexandra Palace, London Dates: January 8 – January 15|
|Coverage: Watch live on BBC TV and Red Button with non-stop coverage on BBC iPlayer, the BBC Sport website and the BBC Sport app|
Judd Trump beat Stuart Bingham 6-1 to set up a meeting with Mark Williams in the Masters final on Sunday.
Neither player was at their best, but Trump crucially won a few poor frames and compiled five half-centuries en route to victory.
In Saturday’s other semi-final, Williams recorded a big 6-0 win over Jack Lisowski.
Three half-centuries and superior safety play saw the Welshman reach his first Masters final in 20 years.
His match with Trump will be their first since their epic Semi-finals of the World Cup last April that the Englishman won 17-16.
Bingham, the 2020 champion, arrived at the last four as arguably the tournament’s best player after comfortably beating Kyren Wilson and defeating Shaun Murphy.
However, he struggled against world number four Trump, who was going through decisive matches against Ryan Day and Barry Hawkins.
And while Trump took a healthy 3-1 lead into the mid-session interval with breaks of 58 and 87, all four frames could have been won by either player, with both guilty of a number of uncharacteristic errors throughout the match.
It was a struggle, Trump told BBC Sport. “I felt a lot better in the first three or four frames. It didn’t really work when I was in the wiser. It was a little choppy, but I just managed to get over the line.”
Both players missed routine lines before Trump made a break of 58 en route to winning the first frame, the first time Bingham had lost an opener at this year’s tournament.
And the 33-year-old, who won at Alexandra Palace in 2019, then took the second with a break of 87 after Bingham went in with a pot attempt into the bottom left corner.
An impressive 93 put Bingham in prime position to cut his deficit after Trump misjudged red’s cut to the center right.
But Trump took the fourth frame after making a 59 to win a long tactical exchange on the green, while both players missed routine pots at the start of a tense fifth frame, which Trump narrowly won after lengthy battles on the yellow and blue.
Trump claimed a sharp sixth frame and was grateful that a slight miss on the red while on 58 only delayed the conclusion of his victory, with Bingham getting two snookers before Trump finished proceedings.
Williams reached her first final since 2003
Two-time champion Williams, 47, was always in control against Lisowski and his greater experience showed after winning a bumpy and hard-fought opener.
He had the better of the tactical exchanges and made three half-centuries for a 5-0 lead before sealing his victory in a low-scoring final frame.
“It has to be worse with one of my best wins for a long time because I don’t get to finals as often as I used to and it gets harder the older you get,” Williams told BBC Sport.
“There were no century breaks, but I had maybe three or four breaks from positions where the balls weren’t easy. Those breaks are as good as any century. I can’t quite outplay Jack, so what can I do? Try to outplay him with safety and so win.
“I’m probably a better all-around player now than I’ve ever been.”
Williams went into the competition looking to make amends for his defeat to Neil Robertson in last year’s semi-final and did so in emphatic fashion, ending England’s Lisowski’s hopes of a first major title in the process.
Williams’ tactical play came to the fore when he picked up Lisowski’s mistakes and made breaks of 52, 74 and 68.
The 31-year-old, who is regarded as arguably the best player in the world to have not won any silverware as a professional, has found it hard to settle.
And when he inadvertently bowled the red after hitting the blue in right center and later failed to gain position on the brown in the final frame, that summed up his afternoon.
“Mark played some great things. In the beginning, whenever he missed, it would be awkward for me and I would miss and hit him straight up,” Liswoski told BBC Sport.
“I might have had a frame with a bit more luck. It wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t get anything going and it just shut me down.”
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