Defending Champion Judd Trump was victorious in a thrilling meeting with Mark Allen to reach the semi-finals of the 888sport European Masters in Lommel thanks to a 4-3 win.
The clash was a repeat of the 2011 UK Championship final, where Trump lifted the trophy following an epic tussle.
It was the Ace in the Pack who came out on top again today, maintaining his strong head to head record against the Antrim potter. Trump has won five of their seven meetings in ranking competition. The seven-time ranking event winner has never defended one of his titles the following year, but he is now just two matches away from achieving the feat.
Allen will be able to take the positives from another strong showing this week. However, he will also be left to rue another final frame defeat. The Pistol has now exited four of the five events he has competed in this season in a deciding frame.
Having come through some edgy contests in the earlier rounds, Trump flew out of the blocks this afternoon. He charged to a 3-0 advantage to take a stranglehold on the tie. However, the gritty Allen was never going to allow his opponent to fall over the line. Breaks of 102 and 76 saw him move within one at 3-2. He then won an engrossing sixth frame on the black to set up a decider. Both players had their opportunities, but with the reds well positioned it was Trump who made a break of 70 to clinch the match.
Trump said: “All of the greats have defended a title. For me to be up there with them I need to do these kind of things. Win tournaments twice, win two in a row and get as many titles as possible.”
Trump will face Cao Yupeng in the last four. He defeated two-time World Champion Mark Williams 4-2 to reach the semi-finals of a ranking event for the first time.
Cao struggled for large parts of the 2016/17 campaign, after regaining his tourcard through Q School. He went on a run of nine consecutive first round exits during the middle part of the season. However, he has recently shown signs of a return to form, reaching the last 16 of the Yushan World Open before a 5-4 defeat against Luca Brecel.
Cao put on a clinical display today, making breaks of 73 and 76 on his way to the biggest win of his career so far.