Judd Trump and Jack Lisowski will become the first snooker players in over a quarter of a century to contest successive ranking finals at the German Masters (LIVE and exclusive on Eurosport at 2pm).
Trump fired three straight centuries in recovering from 5-1 behind to complete a rousing 6-5 victory over Barry Hawkins in the opening semi-final with his friend Lisowski largely dominant in a 6-2 victory against Tom Ford later on Saturday.
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World number one Trump cited a long pot on a green in a 131 break in the seventh frame as key to his recovery that saw him somehow hold for the brown via the baulk cushion with exaggerated top spin that left the white ball more stunned than Hawkins, who was left smiling disbelievingly in his chair at the audacity of the effort.
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"To be honest, I don't think I've ever played a better shot," said Trump. "Certainly not in a tournament.
The shots against Ding (in the quarter-finals on Friday) and John Higgins (2019 Northern Ireland Open semi-final) were amazing, but that shot really is once in a lifetime, to stop the white like I did.
"You are kind of hoping that will happen, but you don't truly believe it, but when I hit it, Barry has cracked up. Even shots like that, give me the belief when I sat down. I could have just rolled the green and missed it.
The belief that gives you, I truly believed I could win the game at 5-2 down from that one shot.
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Having contested the World Grand Prix final last month that saw Trump earn a 10-7 victory over Lisowski and a £100,000 winner's cheque, the duo end a unique 26-year wait for the same two protagonists to contest back-to-back ranking event finals.
Six-times world champion Steve Davis enjoyed a 9-3 win over John Higgins in January 1995 at the Welsh Open, his 28th and final ranking title, with a young Higgins avenging the defeat courtesy of a 9-5 success in the International Open in Bournemouth a fortnight later.
Lisowski would dearly love a similar sequence of results as he chases his first ranking title at the fifth attempt having lost finals at the 2018 Riga Masters, 2019 China Open and the 2019 Scottish Open before his Grand Prix defeat to Trump.
It is hardly a despairing record with his final defeats coming against Neil Robertson (twice), Mark Selby and Trump.
"That's two finals in a row basically, it's the best I've ever played," said world number 14 Lisowski, who turned professional in 2010.
My game is as good as it's ever been. It's cool that we have played twice, two finals in a row.
Lisowski recovered from trailing 7-2 to close to 8-7 behind at the World Grand Prix before Trump steadied himself to win the final two frames for his third ranking triumph of the campaign.
'Amazing' - Lisowski can't believe his luck with wild fluke
With two players committed to fast, offensive snooker, it should be an engrossing contest with the first man to nine frames claiming first prize and an £80,000 cheque in Milton Keynes. The man dubbed 'Jackpot' feels his luck depends on what mood his opponent is in.
"The evening session, I played as well as I could," said Lisowski, whose most notable victory over Trump came in a 6-2 win in the quarter-finals of the International Championship in 2018.
I will probably need him to miss a few. He hasn’t been as on point as he usually is this week. He has scraped through in a few games. I need him to have some sort of off day or I need to play an A star game.
"Hopefully he wakes up tomorrow and doesn’t feel too good and I cruise it.”
Trump will bid to become the first player to successfully defend the German Masters title having reached a remarkable six out of the eight ranking finals this season. He is chasing a 21st ranking title in a trophy-laden decade which would leave him one adrift of Mark Williams' haul of 22 achieved over 24 years.
I have a positive mindset. The belief that I have from how hard I work on the practice table with my brother. That belief pays off under pressure.
Lisowski's ranking final defeats
- 2018 Riga Masters lost 5-2 to Neil Robertson
- 2019 China Open lost 11-4 to Neil Robertson
- 2019 Scottish Open lost 9-6 to Mark Selby
- 2020 World Grand Prix lost 10-7 to Judd Trump
Trump reaches quarter-finals to remain on course for a fourth straight Northern Ireland Open title
Northern Ireland Open
Brilliant Trump thrashes Gao in faultless showing at Northern Ireland Open