Judd Trump jokes he’s ‘stuck in a world seniors championship’ after making Crucible semis

Snooker: Bingtao breaks "unwritten rule" during win

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The competition continues to intensify in Sheffield after three ‘Class of 92’ members advanced to the World Snooker Championship semi-finals. John Higgins edged Jack Lisowski in a final-frame decider to set up a heavily anticipated showdown against Ronnie O’Sullivan, while Mark Williams will face off against Judd Trump in the last four.

And the drama hasn’t been confined to the baize after Trump, 32, aimed a light-hearted jibe at his more senior peers ahead of the tournament’s penultimate phase. With at least 14 years between him and his nearest contemporary, ‘The Juddernaut’ took his opportunity to highlight the age gap on Wednesday.

“Iv (sic) ended up stuck in the middle of a world seniors championship,” tweeted Trump, who beat Stuart Bingham 13-8 to reach this stage of the contest. “Super excited for the semi finals tho (sic) still battling it out with 3 legends of the game,” he followed up in another post.

The other semi-finalists in the field boast a combined 13 world championships, six of which belong to ‘The Rocket’. This is the first time since 1999 that O’Sullivan, Higgins and Williams—each of whom made their professional debuts in 1992—have all reached the final four at the Crucible. Seven-time champion Stephen Hendry got the better of Williams in that year’s final.

The ‘Welsh Potting Machine’ is 47 and will become the oldest player in a World Championship semi-final since Ray Reardon’s appearance in 1985. The veteran won the last of his three Sheffield titles in 2018, one of three consecutive finals where Higgins, 46, suffered defeat (2017-19).

“We’ve got three of us who all came through in 1992 and we’re into the semi-finals 30 years later,” said Williams following his 13-11 quarter-final triumph over Chinese prospect Yan Bingtao. “What other sport can do something like that? It doesn’t really happen.”

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O’Sullivan—who can draw level with Hendry on a record seven world titles—made the cleanest break into the final four after dominating Stephen Maguire 13-5 this week. The 46-year-old encountered issues with his tip, however, leading Jimmy White to suggest the legend “can’t play like that” if he expects to proceed past Higgins.

Ahead of their semi-final clash, Trump admitted Williams “wasn’t someone I really looked up to when I was a kid.” The junior of the group respects his next opponent’s snooker legacy, however, and added: “To be honest they [the other semi-finalists] could compete for another 10 years, every year that goes by I think they could be playing until their late 50s, even 60s.”

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