Judd Trump remained on course for back-to-back titles by beating Martin Gould 4-2 to reach the semi-finals of the Players Championship in Thailand.
In-form Trump beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in the final of the World Grand Prix last Sunday and is now just two wins away from another £100,000 prize. In the semis he will meet Mark Williams, who edged out Matthew Selt 4-3.
The Bristolian left-hander made a 39 clearance to win the opening frame against Gould, then took a scrappy second frame on the colours.
Gould pulled one back before Trump’s break of 76 made it 3-1. A run of 60 helped Gould win frame five and he led 43-0 in the next, only for Trump to take the match with a 73 clearance.
“It was a tough game and I had to make a good clearance in the end,” said Trump. “I enjoy playing in China and Thailand because I get a lot of support and it makes me want to play well. There have been excellent crowds all week, especially for my first match when there were not enough seats. Bangkok is one of my favourite places and hopefully there will be more tournaments here.
“I have slept well since I’ve been here and played every game at night, so jet-lag hasn’t been a problem. Tomorrow I play in the afternoon so it might be a bit harder. I’m playing good snooker and full of confidence.”
Trump will now face Williams for the fourth time within the past two months, having lost to the two-time World Champion at the Welsh Open and Indian Open before gaining revenge at the World Grand Prix.
Williams, who turned 40 last week, was 3-1 down to Selt after the Essex cueman won the first and third frames on the black and the fourth with a run of 70. Selt had chances in each of the next three frames but could not take advantage and Welshman Williams battled back to 3-3 before winning a tense decider with breaks of 35 and 45.
“It’s not the way you start the match, it’s the way you finish,” said Williams, chasing his first ranking title since 2011. “I made a good clearance in the last frame. Matthew probably should have won 4-1 or 4-2 so I’m happy to get through.
“It seems as if I’m playing Judd every other week, he’s one of the best in the world so it’s going to be hard for me. I think I’ve guaranteed my Crucible spot now so I’m happy about that because it was my main aim at the start of the season.”