Join us again tomorrow
We'll be back from 12.45pm tomorrow with all the build-up and action from the final of the UK Championship. It's Judd Trump versus Neil Robertson for the title; two of the greats of the game, both of whom are bang in form. You do not want to be missing this.
Thanks for your company, night night.
Judd Trump is through to the UK Championship final
He hit two centuries tonight, got 97 of the way through a maximum and put away a dangerous opponent 6-2, yet still it feels like Judd Trump had another gear to go into tonight. What a player he is, and now he's got a shot at picking up another Triple Crown title and his fourth ranking event of the season tomorrow. Lu Ning got so frustrated with himself tonight that he was whacking his forehead with his fist before the final frame, but he didn't do too much wrong. Yes, he missed a few pots, but not many players in the game can punish you so severely as Trump can. In the last fortnight Lu has made a Triple Crown semi-final, picked up forty grand and secured a provisional world ranking of 32, a career high, so it's been good times. As for Trump, he marches on relentlessly to that mouth-watering final with Neil Robertson tomorrow.
Trump 6-2 Lu
The blue after the 14th red does indeed secure the ton for Trump, number 755 of his wonderful career, and now it's naughty snooker time as he soon thunders in an extravagant pink to land on the yellow. He makes 113 in total, and that sorts out frame and match.
Trump 5-2 Lu (73-0)
The tenth red followed by the pink have secured this frame in mere minutes, the only question now is whether Trump will turn this into a century. What a final we've got in store tomorrow.
Trump 5-2 Lu (37-0)
Lu's containing safety at the start of the eighth goes awry; he's left Trump a cut on a red to the bottom right, and in it goes. He's landed on the brown too, and soon heads back down to the business end of the table. Trump's playing like a man who wants this done in the next ten minutes, and pulls out an excellent black to the bottom right despite bridging awkwardly over another red. He's up to 37 already, coming off the bottom cushion when potting the black to split open a cluster of reds near the pink perfectly. This looks ominous for Lu.
Trump 5-2 Lu
After a couple of valiant attempts at finding the snooker he needs, Lu leaves Trump a long red over the bottom left and in it goes. Trump adds 11 in total to take the frame, and needs one more to make the final.
Trump 4-2 Lu (64-26)
Lu plays an excellent snooker, with the white in behind the green near the top cushion. Trump misses with an attempt to drop deadweight on a red near the right hand cushion, and he's left it on to the bottom right. It's a tough shot, but Lu strokes it in to land on the pink! That's some nerve right there. Yet after adding one pink he overcuts a simple red to the bottom right, and that's going to cost him the frame surely. Trump pots the offending red but, then misses a pink to right middle that would have put it beyond doubt. Lu's not done yet, and he mops up two reds with pinks before resolving to try and find the one snooker he needs on the final red.
Trump 4-2 Lu (63-1)
A red to right middle takes Trump to a half-century. A high value colour plus one more red and Lu will need snookers. He's virtually straight on the blue though, and can't fashion the angle to land on the red he needs after he thunders it into the right middle. That's end of break on 55; his lead is 62, with 67 still available out there.
Trump 4-2 Lu (37-1)
Lu misses a red to the bottom left, and leaves it sitting over the bottom right for Trump. It's gun barrel straight, so Trump utilises his frankly obscene cue power to hammer the red in and screw the cue ball right back up the table to land on the brown. That's some shot; he's right in here, and accumulating points rapid style.
Trump 4-2 Lu (8-1)
Lu lashes in the first red of the seventh, but he's trusting to luck on position as he careers into the reds and doesn't land on a colour. In fact, he's snookered on them all, and gives up eight points before playing off one cushion to hit the green on the third attempt.
Trump 4-2 Lu
That'll do it! A 54 puts Trump two frames ahead and two away from the UK Championship final.
Trump 3-2 Lu (71-0)
At the start of this frame Trump seemed a little rattled by how he'd lost the fifth, but he's cruising here. A pink takes him to 47 and the following red, frame ball no less, is soon picked off too. He'll be two frames in front again shortly.
Trump 3-2 Lu (24-0)
It's a safety that costs Lu 10 points, as he clips the blue twice in two shots when trying to squeeze past it deadweight and land thin on a red. Lu then leaves Trump two chances at a long red, one to either bottom corner pocket, but both miss. You can't keep doing that though, and Lu soon leaves a third which Trump dispatches.
Trump 3-2 Lu (13-0)
Trump gets in first in frame six with a straight, long red into the bottom right. The blue takes him to 13 and into the pack, but he can't get a decent split and has to play safe.
Trump 3-2 Lu
Well now! Trump leaves Lu a thin cut on the blue to the green pocket, and he clips it in superbly! That brings the white down the table to leave the white near the jaws of the bottom right and the pink on to the left middle. This is such a tough shot...and Lu rolls it in deadweight to win the frame! What a pot under pressure, he's reduced Trump's lead to 3-2!
Trump 3-1 Lu (56-58)
Trump misses a long blue to bottom right after a double kiss on a safety from Lu, who then traps Trump in a snooker and gets five points back when Trump can't clip the blue. Trump makes it at the second attempt though, and sends the blue safe. Both players need blue and pink here, it's magnificently tense.
Trump 3-1 Lu (56-53)
The blue is Trump's saviour in this frame, tight to the upper right rail. Lu pots yellow, green and brown but can't quite shift the blue into a potting position and has to put it safe instead. This is a huge 18 points coming up, and Trump regains the lead in the frame when a superb snooker extracts five points when Lu sails by the blue without hitting it. He manages it at the second attempt though, and leaves it safe.
Trump 3-1 Lu (51-44)
Oof, this is a bad safety from Lu; he clanks the red he's playing straight into the brown and sticks it up over the bottom right for Trump. He could pay heavily for that; Trump tidies up the two remaining reds, but then plays a needlessly extravagant shot on the yellow by trying to cut it then and send it all around the angles rather than jab in a close quarters brown. That's very poor shot selection, and it's advantage Lu in the fifth.
Trump 3-1 Lu (39-40)
Lu's break stalls on 35 as he misses a black off its spot to the bottom right. Trump then pots a difficult red to the yellow pocket from off the right hand cushion, and then splits two awkward reds near the pink when coming down off the yellow. It's a great shot but he can only add 11 in total, and we've got a tight one here with two reds left on the table.
Trump 3-1 Lu (28-29)
Trump absolutely thumps a red at the bottom left, which misses even the jaws and sends reds scattering. That was wild, and he's left Lu in the middle of the table with a mid-ranger to the bottom left. This time, Lu drives it in and lands perfectly on the black. That was loose from Trump, and Lu really needs to punish that here. He hits the front in the frame, taking his break to 24. There are awkward reds to come, but he's right back in this one.
Trump 3-1 Lu (28-5)
We're underway again in the Marshall Arena, and Trump is flying! He glides in a superb long red to the bottom right after Lu's break, and pulls up short of the baulk colours. He's soon back down to the reds, and boy, does he want this done in one visit. Two separate splits on the red have blown this frame wide open for him here. Then, out of nothing, he misses a simple red to the bottom left and goes in-off in the middle! Where did that come from? Lu plonks the ball in the D and drills in a longish red under pressure, because he'd have left the frame on had he missed it. He can't hold for the black though, and has to play the white safe.
Trump 3-1 Lu
Trump nudges one red away from the pink, and then absolutely launches said red into the bottom left. Presumably that was to send it around the angles, but it smashes into the to knuckle of the left middle and it shoots across the table twice to leave a thin cut on the black! Surely he hasn't played that? Who knows, or cares, because the maxi is still on...but Judd's just underhit the thin snick on the black to bottom right and it pulls up a centimetre short of dropping in. What an effort! No maximum, but a thrilling 97 gives him the lead at the interval. We'll be back in 15 minutes.
Trump 2-1 Lu (88-0)
A brilliant red to the middle with deep screw, after a kick left him near the right hand cushion, secures the frame and keeps Trump on the black. That's a great shot, and an attempt to move the red near the rail just misses but he's still on a red to the bottom right.
Trump 2-1 Lu (56-0)
Red number six of the break is boomed into the green pocket from distance to stay on the black, so I think it's safe to say Trump's thinking maxi here. He takes it up 56; he'll have reds to disturb below the pink and there's an awkward one on the rail just below the left middle.
Trump 2-1 Lu (32-0)
Lu almost finds a plant to clip one red into another in the bottom left when playing a shot to nothing, but it hangs right in the jaws and stays there. The direct path to it is blocked, so Trump stuns another red into it and just about lands on the black. It's a good table here, with lots of open reds and the black available into both corners. If you fancy getting excitable early in the frame, it's been four reds and four blacks so far.
Trump 2-1 Lu
It is a century! A 107 from Trump restores his lead in the match.
Trump 1-1 Lu (64-10)
A pink takes Trump to 64, and Lu needs a snooker now. Trump's rolling now though, and a ton looks on here.
Trump 1-1 Lu (42-10)
Trump rolls in a black to get to 38, and bounces off the bottom cushion to open a cluster of four reds below the pink. That leaves him a thin red to the right middle, which he makes, followed by an excellent yellow into the same pocket and then a deadweight red there too which gets him perfectly on the black and back in position.
Trump 1-1 Lu (1-10)
Lu's right up for this, and tags in a nice shot to nothing to the bottom left to get going in the third before trying - and failing - to nudge in behind the green. Trump hasn't located his long game just yet though, as he misses a red right across the table to the bottom left. That's left Lu straight on an easy starter below the black. He can only make nine though before missing a black off its spot while having to cue close to a red. Trump steps in to drop a thin red into the right middle, and he's on the black. Lu could be in trouble here, because there are plentiful reds in the open.
Trump 1-1 Lu
Not anymore he isn't! Trump hits the black when trying to escape from a snooker off one cushion, giving away seven and leaving Lu plum on a red to the bottom left. After a quick break of 23, we're all square in this semi-final.
Trump 1-0 Lu (8-60)
A let off here for Trump, as Lu runs out of position on the reds on 48 and with no pot on he has to play safe. There's still 59 left on the table here, so Trump is still in this.
Trump 1-0 Lu (8-52)
What a recovery pot this is from Lu. With the white near the bottom cushion he casually drops an awkward red into the left middle to keep his break going. The brown follows, before Lu picks out a lovely three ball plant just below the pink followed by another brown to go over the fifty point barrier. A few more reds with high value colours here and he'll be on the board.
Trump 1-0 Lu (8-35)
A poor safety by Lu leaves Trump a look at a long red to the bottom left, which he dumps right into the heart of the pocket to land on the black. Yet hello, what's this? On eight Trump misses a straightforward red to the bottom right, and he's left Lu in. This is a big chance, can he punish Trump's mistake and level this up? It's 22 and counting so far.
Trump 1-0 Lu (0-12)
Lu drives in the first red of the second from distance, so the missed pink in the last frame doesn't seem to be weighing on his mind. He can't get on a colour though, and plays safe. Trump then misses a yahoo at a long one to the bottom left, and he's left Lu a chance at a red to the bottom right, which he rolls in nonchalantly. He's going for his shots here, but can't make more than 11 before missing a long red to the yellow pocket. There's nothing left behind for Trump though, and we're on to safety play for the foreseeable.
Trump 1-0 Lu
Trump pots up to the pink, which he can't find an angle to pot as it's just above the left middle. Lu needs a snooker but misses a thin contact to give away six, and that's the frame. It's a tough school, this; Trump mercilessly punishes Lu's missed pot on the pink to go ahead.
Trump 0-0 Lu (52-51)
Lu's mistake is getting heavily punished here. Trump dispatches all remaining reds and then the blue to hit the front. We're onto the colours, and it's routine from here.
Trump 0-0 Lu (0-51)
Nerves? What are those? A black takes Lu up to a half-century, and he looks ultra-composed here. He's got a pack of seven he'll need to disturb here, and he dislodges two when potting a red to land on the pink. Just as the winning line comes into view in this frame however he misses the pink to the left middle, and Trump comes to the table. It's early, but this could be a telling steal if Trump can dish up here.
Trump 0-0 Lu (0-24)
Trump misses a long red to the bottom right and leaves the white right in the middle of the table with an easy starter for Lu. It’s an early chance, one you feel he needs to exploit in a big way. Lu’s off and running here, with three reds and blacks in the bags so far.
Hit the lights
We're ready to go, MC Rob Walker is introducing the players. It's best of 11 then for a place in tomorrow's final, let's have it.
The form book
These two have met once before, in the first round of the 2018 International Championship where Judd pipped Lu Ning 6-4 in a match five centuries in it.
What a fortnight it’s been for the young man from Jilin. In his second round match against Matthew Selt he hit four centuries in four consecutive frames, and almost became the first man in history to make five before his break ended on 81. Last night he held his nerve against Joe Perry to come through 6-4, and he’s got a view here of a Triple Crown final.
The world number one really showed his class in his quarter-final yesterday. After storming into a 3-0 lead in less than half an hour against Kyren Wilson, he was then pegged back to 3-3 and 4-4 before locating that other gear he has to pull away and win 6-4. Trump has already won the English Open and the Northern Ireland Open in Milton Keynes this season and is now chasing the second UK title of his career.
Welcome to live coverage of the second-semi final of the UK Championship from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. Neil Robertson is already through to the final, so who will he be facing? One of Judd Trump or Lu Ning, that’s who, and they’ll be on the table to work that out shortly.
Join us again tonight
We'll be back from 6.45pm tonight for the second-semi-final, with world number one Judd Trump taking on Lu Ning for the right to face Robertson on Sunday. It should be another belter. Thanks for your company this afternoon, see you anon.
Neil Robertson is through to the UK Championship final
He made light work of Mark Selby yesterday, and Neil Robertson has now swept aside Zhou Yuelong here. Three centuries and three half-centuries today are evidence of a man in serious form. Zhou himself hit a brilliant 141 in the match, and there are surely better days to come for the 22-year old, but Robertson is where the bar is for almost everyone on the tour. In his post match interview Robertson says this is the best he's ever felt about his game; let's hope he stays in that space, because he is a sheer joy to watch right now. Whoever wins out of Judd Trump and Lu Ning tonight has got hell on in tomorrow's final
Robertson 5-2 Zhou (61-0)
A tricky last red goes in via a thin cut to the left middle, but he can't convert the green to get a chance at another century. Robertson will be back tomorrow to try and land more though, because he's won frame and match with that 89.
Robertson 5-2 Zhou (61-0)
Robertson lines up frame ball red to the bottom left, and it's there! There's only 59 left on the table here, and Robertson's still bang in position.
Robertson 5-2 Zhou (34-0)
Zhou hits the brown with a safety, leaving Robertson a red to the bottom right from mid-range. He sweeps it in effortlessly, stunning across as he does so into the line of pink to left middle. That's a glorious shot. It's hard work initially for Robertson as the black is tied up and he needs to keep going up the table for the blue. He then plays a nice shot to get on the black, dropping it lightly into the bottom left to develop two more reds and leave a thin cut to the bottom right. The black goes, but only just, as it wobbles precariously in the jaws before disappearing! That was close, but it was the key shot of the frame as it's all on now for Robertson to secure frame and match.
Robertson 5-2 Zhou (1-0)
Emboldened by his 141, Zhou takes on a difficult long red to the bottom right at the start of the eighth. He misses it by a huge margin and the white double kisses the red as it comes back up the table; that's left Robertson a red to the bottom left, which he pots but fails to hold the white for position on the black.
They've just mentioned The Masters on commentary, the draw for which takes place tomorrow. One undercurrent to this match today is - although it seems unlikely now - that Zhou needs to win it to qualify for the tournament at Alexandra Palace.
Robertson 5-2 Zhou
That's what he's capable of; a fantastic total clearance of 141 pegs a frame back for Zhou.
Robertson 5-1 Zhou (0-100)
The second to last red rings in the ton for Zhou, an excellent break given how this afternoon has gone for him.
Robertson 5-1 Zhou (0-70)
The tenth red of this break takes Zhou to 70, and Robertson now needs a snooker.
Robertson 5-1 Zhou (0-55)
There'll be no maxi attempt as Zhou is forced to go up for the blue. From high on that he plays into the pack, and he's on a red to the bottom left. He's soon past the half-century mark; this is a defiant stand from Zhou after being comprehensively outplayed this afternoon. He's shorted himself on position on his next red though, and is forced to try and clip a thin one into the bottom right while using the rest. It could cost him the frame if he leaves it there, but Zhou delicately drops it in to land on the black.
Robertson 5-1 Zhou (0-32)
Robertson tries a deadweight long red to the bottom left to land on the black, but he misses it and he's left Zhou in. Can he get something going here? A superb black after his first red, forced around the angles off two cushions while cueing over another red, has given him a chance. It's four reds and four blacks to start.
Robertson 5-1 Zhou
Another ton - 104 this time - extends Robertson's lead to four frames.
Robertson 4-1 Zhou (75-0)
The frame is done, and Robertson needs one more to reach his third UK Championship final. As methodical as this barrage of pots is, there's such a natural and freewheeling flow to the way Robertson plays. That cue action belongs in the Louvre Museum.
Robertson 4-1 Zhou (50-0)
What a joy Robertson is to watch when he's on it. He plays another well-judged shot on a red above the black here, dunking it into the bottom left and cannoning another red out if the road to leave a clear way for the black to both corner pockets. Later in the break a stun run through on a red to bottom left leaves him perfectly on the black, which takes him to another half-century. This is brilliant from Robertson.
Robertson 4-1 Zhou (18-0)
Robertson's in again at the start of the sixth, as a lovely, deadweight red drops into the bottom left and leaves the white perfectly on the black. That shot needed such a delicate touch, what a beauty. After the black he then needs a good recovery pot on a long red to the yellow pocket, which he makes, and he's right in position now.
Robertson 4-1 Zhou
It's two reds and two pinks for Zhou, but disaster strikes when he tries to play a red around the angles and put the white safe, only to watch it drop into the bottom right corner. With that red on and ball in hand for Robertson, Zhou immediately concedes and Robertson opens up a three frame lead.
Robertson 3-1 Zhou (56-7)
Robertson's reached frame ball stage, but he's left the white stuck to the right rail. Rather than risk a tricky pink he opts to put the black safe, and it's end of break on 56. There's 59 left on the table, so Zhou's still in this. He plugs one red to the bottom left to land on the pink, which he can play off for a few shots, but he will need the black in play to avoid needing a snooker.
Robertson 3-1 Zhou (41-0)
Zhou's long game isn't there today as he misses another one to the bottom left, leaving Robertson a mid-range cut on a red to the same pocket. In it goes, and a few shots later a perfectly timed blue to left middle, taking the white in and out of baulk with heavy side, has landed him in plum position on his next red. That goes and he then goes in and out of baulk again off the blue, splitting a cluster of reds below the pink spot as the cue ball comes back down the table. A lovely shot, and it's all there for him now.
Robertson 3-1 Zhou (23-0)
We're back, and Zhou's left Robertson a straight red to the bottom left at the start of the fifth. That goes down, and he's into his rhythm straight away here. He picks off the spare reds before going into the pack off the blue; he gets a split of sorts but he loses the white and leaves it near the bottom right. With no obvious pot on it's end of break on 23, and he plays safe back to baulk.
Robertson 3-1 Zhou
There it is! It's a round ton for Robertson as the second to last red goes into the right middle, and there's more coming. He gets to the colours and misses the brown, but a ruthless 118 puts him two frames up at the interval. We'll be back in 15 minutes.
Robertson 2-1 Zhou (65-0)
This is how not to dwell on missing frame ball. Robertson's channelled his annoyance perfectly as his break goes to 61 by thumping in the black and splitting a pack of six reds beneath the pink perfectly. He'll be going into the interval with a 3-1 lead and very probably with another century in the bank.
Robertson 2-1 Zhou (37-0)
Robertson's over the disappointment of the third quickly; Zhou chucks him four points by failing to hit the cue ball hard enough when attempting to nudge into the back of the pack, and Robertson picks off a gorgeous red from the bottom of the bunch into the right middle to land on the black. Five reds and four blacks start this break before he goes up for the pink. This is a great response.
Robertson 2-1 Zhou
What an outrageous fluke for Zhou! Robertson's got him in all kinds of bother with a snooker but Zhou comes off the side cushion, connects with the blue on the top cushion and doubles it the full length of the table into the bottom right! Oh my days. Not only that, he's landed on the pink! That puts the hope in hit and hope. Zhou tidies up the pink and black, and he's nicked the frame by a point! Amazing stuff.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou (62-45)
Brown and blue are a bit more awkward than Robertson would like as he overruns position...and he's missed the frame ball blue to the green pocket! Oh my, that could be huge if Zhou can now step in and clean up the last three balls. He takes on a difficult cut to the green pocket, but it misses and then runs safe. This is still a live one.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou (53-45)
A black takes Robertson to a half-century, and leaves him the final red to the right middle. It's a tricky one, but he rolls it in to go up for the yellow on the top cushion. Robertson pots that to get it back on its spot; clever thinking.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou (22-45)
It's a long way back in this frame for Robertson, but there are no awkward reds here, only a couple by the pink that need to be developed. It would be a telling blow if he could nick this one, and he develops both of those reds into potting positions early here. It's 22 and counting, and at the very least he should be right in control of this frame shortly.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou (0-45)
Nice touch from Zhou as he strokes in a red just above the black to free the latter to both pockets. It's gone the way of the pear on 40 though, as he bridges awkwardly over the pack to stab in a red and lands with the white welded to the pack. A safety looks the best option, until Zhou absolutely creams a sensational blue into the green pocket! What a pot. He needs another one though, and can't drill a long red into the bottom left. Even worse, he sticks it up over the green pocket for Robertson.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou (0-18)
Zhou misses another long one, this time to the bottom right, but in return Robertson can't drill a red into the green pocket and he's left it on. Can Zhou get going here? He's not settled at all yet, but this is a decent opportunity for him. There;'s enough in the open for a heavy visit, and he's ticking along nicely on 18 and counting here.
Robertson 2-0 Zhou
Can he ton up? Of course he can, he's Neil Robertson. It's yet another one for The Thunder, whose stern-eyed determination to kick on and make a century when the frame is already secured is really quite something. He mops up everything left for a magnificent 125 and a two frame lead.
Robertson 1-0 Zhou (68-0)
Robertson's break reaches 67 as he moves the group of reds again and then drops one into the left middle, leaving Zhou needing snookers.
Robertson 1-0 Zhou (54-0)
Robertson reaches his half-century by potting the blue, going off two cushions and splitting the remaining cluster of reds. It's not perfect but it's good enough; a red to the left middle soon goes, and the frame looks sorted here.
Robertson 1-0 Zhou (39-0)
Zhou's left Robertson a red to the bottom left at the start of the second, from close to the lower right rail. It goes, but Robertson can't fashion position on the black and plays safe. Zhou then misses a long one to the bottom left, and he's left Robertson a simple starter to the right middle. There's a load on in the open here, and Robertson is up to a break of 38 and counting already.
Robertson 1-0 Zhou
Robertson lands Zhou in a snooker, and he hits the yellow when trying to get out of it. Zhou concedes the frame, and it's 1-0 to The Thunder.
Robertson 0-0 Zhou (63-11)
A break of 21 puts Robertson 42 ahead, and a foul by Zhou when an attempt to drop deadweight on a red near the bottom cushion pulls up short gives away four. Robertson then pots a red over the green pocket followed by the blue, which leaves Zhou requiring a snooker with three reds left on the table.
Robertson 0-0 Zhou (39-11)
Robertson gets in, draining a long red into the bottom left to land on the pink. He can only make 13 though as he can't shift the final cluster of seven tied up reds around the black spot, and has to play safe. He's back in now though, as Zhou's attempt to drop on the reds deadweight goes awry and leaves Robertson a cut on a red to the bottom right.
Robertson 0-0 Zhou (19-11)
Only seven for Zhou as he rattles a blue into the jaws of the bottom right and it stays out; he's covered the pocket though, so gets away with it. In a long safety exchange Zhou gives away four after going in-off, but he's not left anything. The table is very messy now, with nine reds all below the pink spot and the blue, pink and black tied up within them. We could be here for a while.
Robertson 0-0 Zhou (15-4)
Robertson plugs the first red of the day but can't add a colour to it, and goes in-off a few shots later. That gives Zhou a chance, hand on table and white in the D, of a mid-range red to the bottom left. He can't drive it in though, and he's left Robertson a straight red to the bottom right. The Thunder is away here, with the first scoring chance of the match, but on 14 he leaves a blue to the bottom right hanging in the jaws. Now then Zhou, a chance. In the two meetings between these two to date Robertson has won both, winning 15 of their 16 frames. A good start feels essential for Zhou here.
Here we go then
The baizing of the boys is underway courtesy of MC Rob Walker. Best of 11 then for a place in the final tomorrow.
Happy birthday, Rocket man
A quick point of order before we start this semi-final – Ronald Antonio O’Sullivan is 45 years old today. He won this tournament in 1993, a week before his eighteenth birthday, and he’s currently the world champion. Whether you think the Sports Personality of the Year Award is highly prestigious or twee and anachronistic, surely more national recognition is due for one of the most gifted sporting talents the world has ever seen, never mind Britain.
It’s been a great couple of weeks for one of the emerging talents in the game. In Milton Keynes in the last fortnight Zhou has beaten Peter Devlin, Jimmy White, Chang Bingyu, John Higgins and Jack Lisowski to reach the last four of the UK Championship. He’s been on the rise for a while; in 2019 he took out Mark Allen in the first round of the World Championship, and he reached the final of the European Masters in January. His opponent that day, one Neil Robertson, whitewashed him 9-0 in that match; a rough experience, but Zhou has the chance to get him back today.
Neil Robertson was in imperious form in yesterday’s quarter-finals as he swept aside Mark Selby 6-2. During that match, he made the 750th (!) century break of his career – only Judd Trump, John Higgins, Stephen Hendry and Ronnie O’Sullivan have made more. And yet, for all of his staggering talent, the 38-year old has ‘only’ one world title, one Masters and two UK Championship wins to his name. Robertson’s in a highly competitive era, but easily has the ability to land more; if he can get through today, he’ll have a shot at making it a hat-trick of UK titles.
Welcome to live coverage of the semi-finals of the UK Championship from the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes. This is the business end of the tournament, and we’ve got to cracking semi-finals for you today. First up, it’s Neil Robertson versus Zhou Yuelong.
Prepare to join us for our comprehensive live updates from 12.45pm for the semi-finals, which will be as follows:
- Neil Robertson vs. Zhou Yuelong (1pm)
- Judd Trump vs. Lu Ning (7pm)
Desmond Kane has written for Eurosport about the two stars breaking the mould in snooker right now.
Trump and Robertson are locked on 35 centuries apiece for the season with Trump (753) three clear of his rival (750) in career tons as snooker's form duo look to set up an absorbing UK final on Sunday.
The pair are chasing Robertson's record of 103 for a season set in 2013/14 – and there is every chance they could overtake the old mark before the campaign is over.
O’Sullivan: Trump is the Tiger Woods of snooker
Judd Trump is on another level to every other player within snooker, according to Ronnie O’Sullivan.
World champion O’Sullivan compared the Bristolian’s dominance to that of Tiger Woods in golf after impressing in his 6-4 win against Kyren Wilson in their UK Championship quarter-final at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Recap of evening session: Judd Trump wins through
In the first half an hour of last evening's match it looked like Trump might obliterate Wilson, going 3-0 ahead with some spectacular, one-visit snooker. It might have started with a fluke, but Wilson deserves credit for then fighting back to 3-3 and then 4-4 to leave this quarter-final in the balance. Trump then relocated his best form in the last two frames, with breaks of 71, 63 and 55 pulling him away from a determined opponent. That's why he's the best player in the world, and why he's the favourite to win the second UK Championship of his career this weekend.
In the other evening match, Lu Ning beat Joe Perry and will face Trump in the semi-finals today.
Ronnie O’Sullivan: Judd Trump is the Tiger Woods of snooker – he is playing a different game
What is the format?
All matches are the best of 11 frames until the final which is contested over the best of 19 frames on Sunday, 6 December.
The UK Championship – part of snooker's Triple Crown series – was due to be held at the York Barbican, but due to the global health pandemic, all remaining World Snooker Tour events in 2020 – including the Northern Ireland Open, UK Championship, Scottish Open and World Grand Prix – will continue to be staged behind closed doors at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
HOW TO WATCH THE UK CHAMPIONSHIP – TV & LIVE STREAMING
The UK Championship is live on eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app.
Each day eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app will stream uninterrupted bonus feeds.
We will also have rolling coverage online on the Eurosport.co.uk website and our social channels.